The Fine Young Gentleman http://www.thefineyounggentleman.com Of matters concerning men's dress, fashion & style Tue, 02 Sep 2014 01:49:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The Man Cape: Can It Be Done? http://www.thefineyounggentleman.com/style-advice/how-to-wear-a-man-cape/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-to-wear-a-man-cape http://www.thefineyounggentleman.com/style-advice/how-to-wear-a-man-cape/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 01:45:00 +0000 http://www.thefineyounggentleman.com/?p=10335 Man capes?  Yeah, so maybe I’m off the deep end on this one.  I’m okay with that. Before I attempt to wax poetic let’s first cover a bit of backstory.  I was on Nantucket a few weeks ago and amongst other activities decided to do some photo shoots for the upcoming Jay Butler launch with the good people (or at least their products) from One Orange, Hudson Sutler, Heath Paine and Ellsworth & Ivey.  I couldn’t resist trying on a few of Ellsworth & Ivey’s capes, as I have been curious about experimenting with one for a while.  Only one … Continue reading

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Man capes?  Yeah, so maybe I’m off the deep end on this one.  I’m okay with that.

Before I attempt to wax poetic let’s first cover a bit of backstory.  I was on Nantucket a few weeks ago and amongst other activities decided to do some photo shoots for the upcoming Jay Butler launch with the good people (or at least their products) from One Orange, Hudson Sutler, Heath Paine and Ellsworth & Ivey.  I couldn’t resist trying on a few of Ellsworth & Ivey’s capes, as I have been curious about experimenting with one for a while.  Only one of them fit, which would make since, given they are designed for women.  So anyway, we took some photos of me wearing the cape, I think it worked.  But I got the impression that some of my friends thought I lost it.

how to wear a man cape

The first things that come to my mind when I think of a man in a cape are Batman, Superman and Comic-Con nerds.  The first two are bad ass, the latter is perhaps not something to aspire to on a daily basis.

That said, ‘man cape’ is not really in the lexicon on #menswear. Yet.  Perhaps it is on the outer most fringe of things.  From what I have been able to read through online, most people seem against men wearing capes.  In fact, I would say that a cape it more at home with the most staunch of classic and traditional dressers, like Will over at ASW or Raphael at Gentleman’s Gazette.  Long before my time it was commonplace for men to be seen in capes.  Often the capes were paired with canes and top hats.  Those must’ve been the days.  So perhaps now the man cape is poised for a small resurgence, capes have been doing just that on the women’s side of thing the past few F/W seasons.

From a practical aspect, the cape provides moderate levels of warmth and protection from the elements.  Effectively replacing a lighter jacket.  However, the visual interest is much greater than with said jacket.

how to wear a man cape

I realize that most (ie. 98%) men would never wear a cape.  One of my friends remarked that he would get fired if he wore one to the office. Although a little exaggerated, I am sure the judgement would be swift and unfavorable.  But desire aside, most men could not pull one off; to be frank. It just wouldn’t work with their style, comfort and confidence levels.

So how do you wear a man cape?  The first thing that is needed is confidence in your own style, as well as comfort in the judgements people will throw your way.  In terms of wearing, there is the formal approach, where you wear it with black or white tie.  That is how most men could pull a man cape off.  It is a less daring approach; and the boldness of the cape seems more at home with formal attire.  Then there is the casual approach, like that shown in the photos.

Like everything, it is up to you to decide if a cape works for you.  I certainly advocate trying new things, maybe just don’t wear the cape to the office.  So I must ask, would you wear one?  Or, have I gone too far?

ellsworth and ivey man cape

-JLJ

 

Note: FYGblog received no compensation from Ellsworth & Ivey for featuring their cape in this post.  I just like the cape.

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How To Dress For A Music Festival (But Not For Real Life) http://www.thefineyounggentleman.com/uncategorized/how-to-dress-for-a-music-festival/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-to-dress-for-a-music-festival http://www.thefineyounggentleman.com/uncategorized/how-to-dress-for-a-music-festival/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 17:24:37 +0000 http://www.thefineyounggentleman.com/?p=10280 Some of my friends are all about the music fest stuff.  It’s not totally my scene, as you can imagine.  You know, that whole dirty tie dye hippie smoking pot and blowing lines in public scene isn’t really for me.  But a friends band was playing Peach Fest last Friday so I wanted to go support them, I am glad I went.  My friends had a great set and I got some great material for the blog.  My eyes may be scarred for life from some of what I saw, the fact that some people would go in public like … Continue reading

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Some of my friends are all about the music fest stuff.  It’s not totally my scene, as you can imagine.  You know, that whole dirty tie dye hippie smoking pot and blowing lines in public scene isn’t really for me.  But a friends band was playing Peach Fest last Friday so I wanted to go support them, I am glad I went.  My friends had a great set and I got some great material for the blog.  My eyes may be scarred for life from some of what I saw, the fact that some people would go in public like this baffles me, but I guess that is the costume that is expected at events like this.  Everyone I met and talked to was really nice, which is more than I can say for some other concerts I have been to.  So I am not knocking any of the people as people, but their clothing selections.  I can’t even.

But anyway, I guess take this as an unofficial guide as to how to dress for a music festival.

I have often wondered how brands like Teva have managed to stay in business.  That was at least until I got to Peach Fest.  I think the crowd there has single handedly kept Teva in business for the past decade.

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And then my man is rocking tie dye socks with Birkenstocks.  GET ON HIS LEVEL.  So on trend.

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But really, get on his level.  Don’t you want some of what he’s on?

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All ages were welcome…

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Questionable family values?

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You could even bring your own ‘pet’

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And then there were dreadlocks for days…

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I’m pretty sure these two shared a womb at some point…  If not, at least a fat blunt.

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And there were activities.  Like this hippie tripping hoola hoop shit.

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I haven’t seen Devil’s Sticks since ’95.  And those patchwork cargo pants have given me at least 2 nightmares since last Friday.

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In case anyone got hurt doing ‘activities’ EMS, fire and Police were on hand en masse.  As a sidenote, my ambulance company needs to acquire these toys asap.

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There was some unwritten rule that you could only bring a GoPro if it was on a decorated staff.

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Of you could just bring a staff, because why not?  (PS – that’s how I dressed for the festival)

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If Marylyn Manson and Boy George had a kid, that cane toting kid would be it.  Buzz, your girlfriend, woof.

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The head wear on display was something worthy of noting.

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Have I ever told you that wearing a snow hat/beanie in the summer/warm weather is one of my least favorite looks.  Of all time.  It is up there with square toed shoes.

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I hear tie dye is a lot cooler when you are on a lot of drugs…

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It even gives you wings.  Who needs Red Bull now!!!!??!?

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My man is killing the Rocky game.

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There was this really cool gong set up that they called the ‘Spaceship.’  I was told that the gongs were on the frequencies of all of the planets.  Obviously, I had to try it out.  It was actually really really cool.  It made me feel like I do at the end of a yoga practice – head tingling and all.

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It is debatable what some of the people actually went to Peach Fest for.  I went for the music, which there was actually a lot of.  A lot of really good music.  I in particular came to support my friends from Flight School.  Seeing Boombox, JJ Grey & Mofro, Tedeschi Trucks Band and Trey Anastasio band was also awesome.  JJ Grey is one of my favorite artists and he always puts on a great show.  Derek Trucks is perhaps the most accomplished and talented guitarist of our time, this was my first time seeing him play, and hopefully not the last.  Trey had a strong set, but his encore performance of Black Dog (the version that night was much better than any of the videos I could find) was an amazing finish to the night.

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I am glad to say that my night did not end like this.

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Party on Wayne.  Party on Garth.

-JLJ

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Mohan’s Custom Tailors Suit Review http://www.thefineyounggentleman.com/shopping-advice/mohans-custom-tailors-nyc-suit-review/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mohans-custom-tailors-nyc-suit-review http://www.thefineyounggentleman.com/shopping-advice/mohans-custom-tailors-nyc-suit-review/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 16:49:31 +0000 http://www.thefineyounggentleman.com/?p=10247 I have long been curious about some of the NYC based custom suit shops. The ones that have been around for years; before this whole online made to measure revolution. Stores like LS, Mr. Neds (that review will be finished eventually…), Bhambi’s and Mohan’s. I had the good fortunate of receiving an email from some of Mohan’s Custom Tailors (also known as Mohan’s NYC and Mohan’s) associates a few months ago asking if I would be interested in meeting with the shop and possibly doing a review on them. I eagerly obliged. In a few weeks time I made my … Continue reading

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I have long been curious about some of the NYC based custom suit shops. The ones that have been around for years; before this whole online made to measure revolution. Stores like LS, Mr. Neds (that review will be finished eventually…), Bhambi’s and Mohan’s. I had the good fortunate of receiving an email from some of Mohan’s Custom Tailors (also known as Mohan’s NYC and Mohan’s) associates a few months ago asking if I would be interested in meeting with the shop and possibly doing a review on them. I eagerly obliged. In a few weeks time I made my way up to NYC to meet with Mohan’s in their midtown store which is conveniently less than a 2 minute walk from Gran Central (60 E 42nd st, ste 1432).

I met with KJ Singh, who is one of Mohan’s salesmen (fortunately, he knows his stuff – we all know that I am not typically the biggest fan of in store salespeople). Before getting into the fitting and suit selection I asked KJ about the history and operations of Mohan’s, a subject he obliged to enlighten me on.

robin rotenier skull and crossbones cufflink

Mohan’s was fonded in 1972 in New York City by Mohan Ramchandani.  It has been in its current location since 1980.  However, prior to that Mr. Ramchandani spent time in Hong Kong learning the trade and craft of suit making at his family’s factory. Mr. Ramchandani is originally from India, however. All of Mohan’s suits are made in its Hong Kong factory, and that factory only makes suits for Mohan’s.

Much like MyTailor, Mohan’s walks a line between made to measure and bespoke. They can honor pretty much any request related to specific measurements and details on a shirt, jacket or trousers (more on this later); which put them close to bespoke territory. But traditionalists would not term them a bespoke house because the goods are not made on property, not hand padded lapels and there are no standard basted fittings; among other things.

The fitting and measurement process is brief but thorough and efficient. One of Mohan’s tailors first took my measurements and then had me try on a few sample jackets and then I dictated all of my special requests and requirements, which as you can imagine were somewhat extensive (again, more on this later). KJ told me that Mohans’ keeps each customer’s measurements and pattern on file, so for subsequent suits one does not have to come back in for measurements unless there has been significant change with their body.

mohans nyc tux jack erwin shoes

After some discussion with KJ we decided to make me a tuxedo (thanks to Scott from Jack Erwin for taking the photos). I have long been in need of a simple black tux. However, I could not settle with just a simple black tux. My tux was to be made of Minnis Fresco (which is one of my favorite fabrics of all time) with the lapels and pant stripe of satin. My primary reason for going with the Fresco fabric was to allow me to wear the tux in warmer weather (ie summer weddings) with greater comfort, as it is a more breathable fabric than your normal wool suiting fabric. Yet Fresco wrinkles very little and maintains a formal appearance and texture, somewhat unlike linen, which has a similarily open weave and breathability.  Furthermore, Fresco has a nice matte appearance which contrasts nicely with the sheen of the satin.

Given that Fresco is a more expensive fabric my tuxedo would sell for around $2,000.  But keep in mind that Mohan’s suits start around the $700 mark.  The suits are half canvassed and can be fully canvassed.

mohans nyc tux jack erwin shoes

In about two months time I returned to Mohan’s to try the suit on. I was told that they can do basted fittings if needed, but it is usually unnecessary. In my case it was unnecessary, as the jacket fit exceptionally well out of the box. We only had to shorten the sleeves and pant legs slightly and take in the waist a little bit. All of the alterations were free of charge, but what really impressed me was that Mohan’s will make alterations to a suit for the first few years of ownership at no cost (and I am sure you could get them past that if needed). Anyway, I came back the next day to pick up the tuxedo to wear to a wedding that night.

The details for the jacket are as follows: 1 button front, peak lapel, 2 vents, 4 sleeve buttons (non working), satin lapels, fully lined (black lining), high gorge on the lapels, lower buttoning point, 3.75” wide lapels.

The details for the pants are as follows: no pleats, no belt loops, side tabs, no cuffs, extended slide tab closure, suspender buttons.

All of the details were met without exception. The only issue was that I did not request a lapel button hole for a boutonniere, so the jacket is without one for now (I could always have one added). But as a bonus the one button on the jacket has a jigger on the back side, which is a subtle detail I love.  But on to the details…

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The stitching around the buttonhole is clean and tight. You can see the texture and weave of the Fresco in this photo.

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The single button on the front of the jacket is satin covered, as it should be. But almost more importantly, it has a jigger on the backside; which allows the jacket to be closed with two buttons showing, which I think is a more elegant look. You can see how it looks in the photos of me wearing the jacket above and below.

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The sleeve buttons, like the front button, are covered in satin like material.

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The lapel is the requested width and also covered in satin, as a tuxedo lapel should be. I just wish it had a button hole on it.

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The jacket pockets are besom pockets, as they should be on a tuxedo jacket. These are outlined with satin, which to be honest I am indifferent on. Some days I wish they were not and on others I like the look.

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The fabric from the collar is folded to the underside of the collar, which is something I like to see as it helps hide the felt on the underside of the collar.

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The lining for the sleeve is handsewn to the body of the jacket and the sweat guard is made of the fresco fabric.

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A detail that I do not see often is the strap between the two side vents of the jacket. I have heard some men do not like it, but I do. I think it helps keep the sides of the jacket closer to the body and hips.

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On the inside of the waistband there is a small strip of gripping tape which helps keeps shirts tucked in.

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By this point we should all know that I love my extended slide tabs on pants. I think it is the cleanest and most elegant way to fasten the waistband. Fortunately, Mohan’s was able to do this.

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Also by this point we should all know that I love side tabs. These tabs have a particularly nice shape to them.

In summation, my tuxedo from Mohan’s is one of, if not the best, tailored pieces I have had made for myself.  KJ and his staff were able to nail the fit on the first go while still meeting all of my special requests.  Which is impressive.  Although my tuxedo would sell for around $2,000 (Fresco is expensive fabric), Mohan’s suits and tuxedos start around the $700 mark.  My only real negative of the tuxedo is the lack of button hole on the lapel, but that is an amendable thing and even without that I still love the tux.  For those in the NYC area looking for an NYC based custom suit house and your budget is above $700 I recommend you start your search at Mohan’s.  If you have any questions, thoughts or experience with Mohan’s I encourage you to hit the comments section.

mohans nyc tux jack erwin shoes

To be continued…

-JLJ

 

PS – Big thanks to Scott at Jack Erwin for taking the photos of me wearing the tuxedo.  Photos were shot outside The Plaza.  The shoe featured in this post are Jack Erwin’s Joe (review here).

Note: FYGblog did receive this tuxedo for the purpose of review.  As always, the utmost effort was taken to maintain and unbiased stance on the product and brand at hand.

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Don’t Trust The Man In The Suit http://www.thefineyounggentleman.com/style-advice/dont-trust-man-suit/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dont-trust-man-suit http://www.thefineyounggentleman.com/style-advice/dont-trust-man-suit/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 15:41:53 +0000 http://www.thefineyounggentleman.com/?p=10237 A few days ago a rather interesting article regarding men’s dress was published on the Economist titled Suitable Disruption.  The article discusses a policy that early Facebook and Napster investor Peter Thiel has which is to not invest in anyone who wear a suit to a pitch meeting.  The theory is discussed in more detail in his forthcoming book Zero To One.  This is not the first time I have heard talk like this.  Crazy, right? Fortunately, for those of us who enjoy wearing suits Mr. Thiel was referring to the tech world.  Not the entire world.  He notes, “Never … Continue reading

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A few days ago a rather interesting article regarding men’s dress was published on the Economist titled Suitable Disruption.  The article discusses a policy that early Facebook and Napster investor Peter Thiel has which is to not invest in anyone who wear a suit to a pitch meeting.  The theory is discussed in more detail in his forthcoming book Zero To One.  This is not the first time I have heard talk like this.  Crazy, right?

Fortunately, for those of us who enjoy wearing suits Mr. Thiel was referring to the tech world.  Not the entire world.  He notes, “Never invest in a tech CEO that wears a suit.”  However, the author of the article goes on to discuss how there is evidence to support the dressing down of investors and professors, it helps them build credibility.  Every profession has a uniform, in tech it happens to be a hoodie or other uber casual wear which is a less rigid uniform.  When I EMT I have to wear our organizations uniform which has to conform to certain standards and is far more rigid (it is like a police or military uniform).  When I used to be an auditor the uniform was a mix of business casual and a suit and tie.  Regardless of the profession, looking the part helps people think you are the part.  ‘Fake it till you make it’ type of thing I suppose.  That said, I can’t really disagree with Mr. Thiel; not to mention the guy has made a few boatloads of money so he’s clearly making a few right decisions.  What say all of you?

On a more personal note this article hits close to home.  Not only have I been writing a blog on men’s style for the past three years, a good bit of the content of which revolves around tailored wear like suits but I am also starting my own company (launching around October, sign up on the Jay Butler site for updates).  I would imagine that at some point I will be meeting with potential investors and what I chose to wear for such meetings will certainly be a conscious decision, not just some accident.  Will I wear a suit?  The chances are better than 50%.  I just feel like a suit is the appropriate thing to wear for such a formal meeting.  But fortunately, I am in the men’s style business, and not the tech business.  So perhaps what I wear will not be an issue at all.

Regardless of whether or not I agree with everything Mr. Thiel says, I will be buying his book.  I guess controversy does breed sales?

-JLJ

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The Best $150 I’ve Ever Spent? The Z-Rack http://www.thefineyounggentleman.com/clothing-care/z-rack-clothing-storage/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=z-rack-clothing-storage http://www.thefineyounggentleman.com/clothing-care/z-rack-clothing-storage/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 04:14:17 +0000 http://www.thefineyounggentleman.com/?p=10228 A few months back (one of those times I didn’t post for a while) I moved from the suburbs to city.  Partially as a result my clothing storage space became less than what it had previously been.  Which for someone who is as clothing obsessed as me this posed a significant problem.  I wrestled with the problem for a few weeks, unable to find something that was sturdy enough yet with enough capacity.  Which was about 10′ of hung clothing.  I also had a variety of bags and other items that I needed to find a home for. I looked … Continue reading

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A few months back (one of those times I didn’t post for a while) I moved from the suburbs to city.  Partially as a result my clothing storage space became less than what it had previously been.  Which for someone who is as clothing obsessed as me this posed a significant problem.  I wrestled with the problem for a few weeks, unable to find something that was sturdy enough yet with enough capacity.  Which was about 10′ of hung clothing.  I also had a variety of bags and other items that I needed to find a home for.

I looked through the pages of Ikea, Bed Bath & Beyond as well as a few other stores; but nothing fit the bill and came in at a reasonable price.  I also debated constructing something myself.  And then I remembered a particular type of rack that I saw being used at one of Gilt Groupe’s warehouses (I used to audit them and did an inventory count at one of the warehouses).  After some cursory Googling I discovered that the racks are called Z Racks, or some formation of that.  Not to be confused with Z Packs, those things the doctor gives you when you get sick.  Either way, both Z Racks and Z Packs are amazing.

z rack garment storage

The Z Rack has only one drawback.  It is not exactly the most aesthetically pleasing thing.  It was meant for the warehouse and showroom, not the bedroom.  Which is something that will alienate many customers.  But for those of us who desire function over form, look no further.  I was able to fit two levels of hanging storage on the rack (I got the extendable version and fully extended the height).  Worry not about the strength and durability of these things, I did pull ups on mine once it was assembled; the Z Racks are rock solid, far more stable than anything I have seen at Ikea and Bed Bath & Beyond.  I also purchased the top rack, which is an additional item (around $75), the extra 10sft of space that the rack provides is invaluable).  I should note that the rack did come with wheels, I removed mine to make the rack shorter.  The rack itself was around $75 as well, there are numerous suppliers.  I picked mine up in Philadelphia at a place called Gershel Brothers (go hungry, there is a good BBQ place, Sweet Lucy’s, next door).

Yes, I get it, this thing is ugly and not something that most of us would want in our bedroom.  But for those of us crunched for space (I am looking at those of you in NYC in particular) or those who have somewhere they can hide the rack, you will be hard pressed to find a better option.  It is certainly some of the best $150 I have ever spent.

-JLJ

 

Note: FYGblog received no compensation in any form from any party during the production of this post.  I just love the product at hand (z rack).

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Wierd Al Yankovic Takes On Fashion http://www.thefineyounggentleman.com/random-tangents/wierd-al-takes-fashion/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=wierd-al-takes-fashion http://www.thefineyounggentleman.com/random-tangents/wierd-al-takes-fashion/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 14:33:41 +0000 http://www.thefineyounggentleman.com/?p=10215 Weird Al Yankovic has yet again returned with his unrivaled blend of musical parody and satire.  Much to the delight of this blog he decides to take on a few fashion trends and men’s style issues head on.  Which is rather interesting considering historically speaking his personal style has gravitated towards the more horrifying side of things.  But anyway, that is neither here nor there.  What is important is that he puts down Crocs, Uggs and Ed Hardy.  Most importantly, he makes it clear that wearing suspenders with a belt is also ‘tacky’.  He then throws in a few other … Continue reading

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Weird Al Yankovic has yet again returned with his unrivaled blend of musical parody and satire.  Much to the delight of this blog he decides to take on a few fashion trends and men’s style issues head on.  Which is rather interesting considering historically speaking his personal style has gravitated towards the more horrifying side of things.  But anyway, that is neither here nor there.  What is important is that he puts down Crocs, Uggs and Ed Hardy.  Most importantly, he makes it clear that wearing suspenders with a belt is also ‘tacky’.  He then throws in a few other fashion and menswear references for good measure.  Needless to say, the man has won my heart.  But he didn’t stop there.

Much of the remainder of the song comments on behaviors and manners (or lack thereof) that are often exhibited these days.  Such as name dropping, tweeting about personal events and excessive bumper stickering.

The question begs to be asked: what is Wierd Al really saying about these aspects of popular and present culture?  Have we completely lost sight of decency and good taste?  I would argue that in some respects yes.  Are these passing fads and trends or are they here to stay?  And is he even serious about his critique, or is he just being a funny man?  Regardless, don’t wear suspenders and a belt at the same time.

-JLJ

 

PS – For those of you who like to criticize my grammar you may appreciate another one of Weird Al’s songs

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On Paper Vs. In Person http://www.thefineyounggentleman.com/style-advice/paper-vs-person/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=paper-vs-person http://www.thefineyounggentleman.com/style-advice/paper-vs-person/#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 12:40:20 +0000 http://www.thefineyounggentleman.com/?p=10201 “I have a great friend to set you up with.  I went to college with her and she has a great job at Bloomingdale’s as a buyer.  Shes from the Main Line and is really pretty, at least an 8.”  One of your girlfriends tells you.  So you scope her out on Facebook, she’s at least an 8.  In fact you think you saw her on Tinder, definitely swiped right on that one.  Anyway, you’re sold, you take the date. On paper this girl sounds great; smart, well educated, employed and attractive.  You meet her in person, have some drinks, … Continue reading

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“I have a great friend to set you up with.  I went to college with her and she has a great job at Bloomingdale’s as a buyer.  Shes from the Main Line and is really pretty, at least an 8.”  One of your girlfriends tells you.  So you scope her out on Facebook, she’s at least an 8.  In fact you think you saw her on Tinder, definitely swiped right on that one.  Anyway, you’re sold, you take the date.

On paper this girl sounds great; smart, well educated, employed and attractive.  You meet her in person, have some drinks, some conversation and maybe even have at it a bit.  You get to know her a little better, you get to see the things that you couldn’t see from your friends description (ie on paper).  But then you realize, wait, she’s boring.  She doesn’t have any hobbies.  She thinks watching ‘Real Housewives’ constitutes a hobby, but we all know that that is in fact a soul sucking activity, an anti-hobby if you will.  The possibility that she may actually be interesting is quickly diminishing, in fact, she may even be basic.  Of course the friend who set you two up left out those detracting details.  What you have on your hands is a classic case of what looks good on paper may not necessarily look good in person.

Sadly, the same thing happens in menswear.  Often times I will see an item online or in a store and think to myself, ‘wow, this is a great piece.’  The price is good, the quality is good.   But then I think to myself, ‘how will this fit in to my wardrobe?  When will I wear this?’  The sirens start flashing and the brake lights go on; ‘DO NOT PURCHASE THIS’ I tell myself.  Sadly, I would have no use for it, I think to myself.  I find this happens particularly often when thrift shopping.

Take for example, the above Gucci bit loafer.  I saw it on sale for around $250 the other day.  The shoe is so obnoxious that I love it (it’s that good kind of pain type of thing) and felt compelled to purchase it.  But fortunately and rather quickly those aforementioned brake lights started flashing and the purchase was aborted.  The shoe looks good on paper, but in reality, I would have no use for it.  It is not practical nor would it mesh with the rest of my wardrobe.  Could I pull it off, most likely, but that does not mean I should exert the effort to do so.

suitsupply madison brown suit

As another example, take this brown linen suit from Suitsupply, which I love.  On paper and picture the suit looks great.  But then you check it out in person and it already has sleeve button holes sewn in.  You will need to sleeves shortened, which you cant do with the holes already there.  You think how can you make it work?  You can’t shorten the sleeves from the armhole because that would throw off the check pattern.  At a loss for ideas you have to pass on the suit.  So close, yet so far.

Figuring out your style is as much knowing what does work for you as much as knowing what doesn’t.  As part of that you have to be able to discern what looks good both on the rack and on your body.  In other words, no basic bitches allowed.

-JLJ

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Awl & Sundry Custom Shoe Review http://www.thefineyounggentleman.com/shoes/awl-sundry-custom-shoe-review/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=awl-sundry-custom-shoe-review http://www.thefineyounggentleman.com/shoes/awl-sundry-custom-shoe-review/#comments Sat, 12 Jul 2014 02:48:38 +0000 http://www.thefineyounggentleman.com/?p=10168 It was only a matter of time until someone did the whole online made to order shoe thing right.  So, after a few years of waiting it has happened.  Or at least, it is as good as it gets for now, and I mean that as a compliment.  The ‘it’ I refer to is Awl & Sundry.  Although admittedly, Awl & Sundry is far from the first company to do made to order shoes, they are the first that I know of to work on multiple lasts with multiple styles of shoes and do it solely online. A few months … Continue reading

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It was only a matter of time until someone did the whole online made to order shoe thing right.  So, after a few years of waiting it has happened.  Or at least, it is as good as it gets for now, and I mean that as a compliment.  The ‘it’ I refer to is Awl & Sundry.  Although admittedly, Awl & Sundry is far from the first company to do made to order shoes, they are the first that I know of to work on multiple lasts with multiple styles of shoes and do it solely online.

A few months back I shared about the ordering process at Awl & Sundry, which if you have not read, I advise you do so to get up to date.  Now that I have had the shoes for a little and had the opportunity to wear them I would like to finish the review as well as talk a bit more about Nikunj (pictured below wearing some Awl & Sundry wingtips) who is the man with the masterplan.

awl and sundry shoes close up

When Nikunj first approached me about Awl & Sundry we talked on the phone for about half and hour.  It was clear that the passion for both his business and its products was in tact.  Fortunately, we were able to meet a few months later in NYC, where Awl & Sundry is now based (a logical place given the convergence of tech and fashion that only NYC can provide).  Much like myself (and many of the other founders of the brands I have covered on these pages) Nikunj spent a few years working a corporate gig.  However, he found himself longing for more.  He also realized there was both the opportunity and ability to create a web based made to order shoe brand.

Nik 2

At the end of the first part of this review, I noted that my expectations were pretty high.  I should say that upfront that one some fronts my expectations were met and others were not.  But overall, I am extremely impressed with what Nikunj and his team has developed.  In order to deliver what they do they have had to develop thousands of patterns.  Which sounds crazy, but when you think about how shoes are made it makes sense.  Stay with me for a minute while I explain.

Awl & Sundry has 4 different style of shoes on it (oxford, derby, monk and loafer).   Within each style there are 5 different lasts to chose from.  For each size within each last they have to develop a separate pattern for each heel counter, toe cap, loafer strap, eyestay etc.  Take a simple toe cap.  A different pattern needs to be made to each last and each size.  Let’s assume 5 lasts and 10 sizes for each last.  That gives us 50 different patterns just for a toe cap.  Expand that over the entire population of options and we are quickly in the thousands of patterns.  Anyway, enough of my babbling, onto the shoes.

awl and sundry custom shoes

The shape of the last is one of, if not the first thing I look at.  The last, more than anything else, dictates both the comfort and look of the shoe.  I quite like this last, The Harvey.  Fortunately, it happens to be comfortable as well.

awl and sundry loafer side view

Three things draw my attention here.  The black sole and welting, the thickness of the sole and the lack of curvature on the strap across the vamp.  To elaborate; I do not care for a black sole on brown shoes.  Awl & Sundry should have an option for brown soles (I’ve spoken with Nikunj on this and they are working on that).  But if you like contrast or are getting black shoes you’ll be set.  The sole would do better being a little thinner, a thinner sole would give the shoe a better balance.  Admittedly, this is largely a personal preference though.  I would also prefer if the suede strap had a little more curvature, that it was a little more swept back.

awl and sundry strap loafer

The stitching along the strap is even and clean, as is the broguing.  From this photo you can also get a decent idea of how the leather looks.  The leather is of good quality for the price (around $350).  It has a smooth touch and takes a shine pretty well.

awl and sundry good year welted shoe

The shoes are Good Year welted.  The stitching of which is clean and even.  The edge of the sole could be cut closer to the stitching to make the shoe a little more sleek; but like some of my other points, this is a personal preference.

awl and sundry

You will see the small sliver of leather at the corner, although not really noticeable when the shoes are worn, I feel that it should have been removed in the quality control stage.  But other than that the quality control was very well done on this pair of shoes.

awl and sundry custom shoe

The only quality control issue that it worth noting is the sole paint on the base of the heel.  On another note, I quite like the shape of the heel counter.

awl and sundry shoe sole

Not to be forgotten is the sole of the shoe.  I think both the coloration and the marking on the sole is very nicely done.  The channel for the stitching is deep enough that the sole can wear down a bit before reaching the stitching.

awl and sundry loafer

With any 3D graphic rendering the biggest concern is that the real product looks like the graphic rendering.  In this case, I think a good job was done.  The proportions stayed true and I think the colors are a pretty close approximation as well.

awl and sundry custom mens shoes

Shoes: Awl & Sundry.  Shirt: Cottonwork.  Trousers: Phineas Cole (Paul Stuart).

Shoes: Awl & Sundry. Shirt: Cottonwork. Trousers: Phineas Cole (Paul Stuart).

As with any product and any brand, I have my share of critiques.  Some of which are more about my personal taste, like wishing for more curvature on the strap across the vamp.  Others are more objective like calling for a brown sole, not a black one.  But at the end of the day, Awl & Sundry provides a product that is unique and of good value.  The shoes are comfortable and are well made.  But to me the primary value is the ability to create something that is unique and speaks to your individual style.  It is an experience that is unmatched online as far as I know.  I would go so far as to say that the whole thing is rather exclusive and luxurious.  To me, choice and variety are some of the greatest luxuries there are.  I think that particularly for a man who has unique tastes or likes to chart his own course Awl & Sundry will be an exceptionally comfortable fit.  At a minimum I urge all of you to spend some time playing with the design site, there are literally thousands of combinations and I would have trouble believe you if you told me you couldn’t create one that you liked; if not one worth buying.  If you have any questions, comments or experience of your own with Awl & Sundry I urge you to hit the comments.

-JLJ

 

Note:  FYGblog did receive the pair of shoes referred to for the purpose of review.  As always, the utmost care has been taken to maintain an unbiased perspective on the product and brand at hand.

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Lax Pinnie Friday http://www.thefineyounggentleman.com/casual/lax-pinnie-friday/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=lax-pinnie-friday http://www.thefineyounggentleman.com/casual/lax-pinnie-friday/#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 17:53:17 +0000 http://www.thefineyounggentleman.com/?p=10144 My life is riddled with guilty pleasures.  I have found that my life functions a bit more smoothly with them, rather than without them.  A while back I shared about my secret love for the Supreme 5 panel hat.  Today I would like to opine on the supremacy of the lax pinnie.  Of course, there are numerous other guilty pleasures, they can either be discussed later on or have no place on this blog. So what is it about lax pinnies that make them both acceptable for wear in public as well as superior to any other form of dress.  … Continue reading

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My life is riddled with guilty pleasures.  I have found that my life functions a bit more smoothly with them, rather than without them.  A while back I shared about my secret love for the Supreme 5 panel hat.  Today I would like to opine on the supremacy of the lax pinnie.  Of course, there are numerous other guilty pleasures, they can either be discussed later on or have no place on this blog.
So what is it about lax pinnies that make them both acceptable for wear in public as well as superior to any other form of dress.  First, I should say that they are not appropriate for wear in public minus for BBQs, beaches, pools and the gym.  But in each of those settings they find themselves comfortably at home as long as a more formal code of dress is not requested.  In fact, I often still observe Lax Pinnie Friday at the gym.  A weekly event that requires one to don a lax pinnie on you guessed it, Friday.  I started the tradition some years ago and don’t see it going away anytime soon.  Anyway, regarding the lax pinnies supremacy, there are two primary factors.
lax pennie friday
The first is that lacrosse is one of, if not the finest sport played in America.  Far superior to all 4 of the major commercial sports no doubt.  Second, lacrosse is perhaps the most uniquely American sport there is (to keep the whole American exceptionalism theme from last post going) given its origins in Native American tribes from what is now the eastern parts of the US and Canada.  And on a more personal note I have reason to believe my Cherokee ancestors played it.
On a more practical note there are few things that are cooler wearing than a lax pinnie.  One could argue that a basketball jersey does the same, but basketball jerseys and pinnies are both less attractive and from a lesser sport (although I will say that some of the people who play it are amazing athletes).  Said pinnie will also bring the wearer back to the days of glory on the field.
A good pennie will come from one of three sources.  A school team, club team or camp.  I still rock my vintage Finncrosse camp pinnie from summer ’00.  My high school pinnies have the most meaning.  But my favorite is from a summer league team I played for a few years back.  I said that I would only play on the team if we got pink and green pinnies.  Apparently someone else said they would only play if the team name was Victorious Secret.
lax pennie friday
PS – I realize the past few posts have centered around very casual wear.  We’ll be back to more formal things shortly.

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Wearing America: The 4th of July Shopping List http://www.thefineyounggentleman.com/america-fuk-yeah/4th-july-shopping-list/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=4th-july-shopping-list http://www.thefineyounggentleman.com/america-fuk-yeah/4th-july-shopping-list/#comments Thu, 26 Jun 2014 14:01:58 +0000 http://www.thefineyounggentleman.com/?p=10108 Nothing says exceptional like America. And through years of historical precedent nothing saying you love your country by decking yourself out in all assortments of red, white and blue.  There is, of course, the option of wearing the colors on different items of clothing (think navy blazer, white shirt and red tie).  And then there is the option of wearing threads that were specifically created to remind the rest of the world just how exceptional America is.  Which in the unfortunate case you forgot about that small scientific fact, I ask that you take a few minutes to listen to … Continue reading

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Nothing says exceptional like America.

And through years of historical precedent nothing saying you love your country by decking yourself out in all assortments of red, white and blue.  There is, of course, the option of wearing the colors on different items of clothing (think navy blazer, white shirt and red tie).  And then there is the option of wearing threads that were specifically created to remind the rest of the world just how exceptional America is.  Which in the unfortunate case you forgot about that small scientific fact, I ask that you take a few minutes to listen to one of the finest speeches in the history of mankind.

Whichever method you favor one thing is for certain, showing your love for America has never, and will never, go out of fashion.  So to get you started on your quest to display your beloved country’s colors here are a few of the better items out there…

 

Although we had a tough loss against Germany, I expect us to topple Belgium.  Oh, and Graham Zusi looks like me, or should I say I look like him?

Image credit: http://xfinity.comcast.net/slideshow/sports-2014usworldcuproster/14/

Image credit: http://xfinity.comcast.net/slideshow/sports-2014usworldcuproster/14/

Nike – USA World Cup jersey ($89.99)

 

Speaking of Germany…

rowdy gentleman back to back champs

Rowdy Gentleman – Back To Back World War Champs t-shirt ($28)

 

Because at some point you may have to don a tie during your celebrations of America and this is the most American of American ties.

high cotton american flag bow tie

High Cotton – Starts & Stripes bow tie ($50)

 

The pinnacle of croakie-esque exceptionalism.

tucker blair american flag croakies

Tucker Blair – American flag sunglasses strap ($45)

 

Because you need a belt to match your sunglasses strap, obviously.

 

AmericanFlagDarkBlueNeedlepointBelt__01886.1390967931.1280.1280

Tucker Blair – American flag needlepoint belt ($115)

 

Because at some point you will be in or near one or more bodies of water.  Preferably while on that heavenly little island…

ack surf american flag board shorts

ACK Surf – ACK Americans board shorts ($45)

 

Because when your boots hit the ground there should be no confusion what team you’re playing for.

STS10434_1_1200x735

Sperry Top Sider – American Flag Day boat shoe ($95)

 

Because there is nothing your Jack will taste better out of.

smathers and branson american flag needlepoint flask

Smathers & Branson – American flag needlepoint flask ($65)

 

Because you need to remind the rest of the world what big stick diplomacy is all about.

Chubbies mericas

Chubbies – ‘Mericas ($59.50)

 

Because you need to make everyone jealous of how exceptionally American your sunglasses are.

oakley old glory america frogskin

Image Credit: Fine Young Gentleman

Oakley – Old Glory Frogskins (I have an extra pair – email for inquiries)

 

Because you’ll put something on her wrist, not her finger.

kiel james patrick american legacy bracelet

Kiel James Patrick – The American Legacy ($38.00)

 

Because you want the city streets to know that the man wearing the suit loves America.

indochino usa suit lining

Indochino – Stars & Stripes suit lining ($429-749)

 

Because you need something American to carry all of your other America gear in.

hudson sutler yorktown duffel

Hudson Sutler – Yorktown Weekender Duffel ($120)

-JLJ

 

Note: All images from company websites/product pages linked to unless otherwise noted.  FYGblog received no compensation from any brand featured in exchange for placement on list.

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