Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Goodwill Goldmine

I've been on a bit of thrift store and discount store buying spree the last couple of days. There are two Goodwill stores here and I managed to find a suit in both. The suit I got today won't even require any alterations. In addition to the suits I came home with three blazers and a $3 silk tie I found at Marshalls. All of the blazers are three buttons but I think they are all less than thirty years old.
After completing my shopping spree I decided to get a manicure. Yes, I said a manicure. It was common as recently as the 60's for a gentleman to get a manicure about once a month. A man's manicure usually involves trimming the nails and the cuticles. Then it ends with a hand massage. The massage alone makes it worth it but judging from some peoples hands I've seen it should become part of your grooming regimen. I'm definitely going to make it part of mine, probably after I go to the barber shop. Good grooming habits don't make you a pansy.
I got my straw hat the other day and I love it. It is a Sunbody Teardrop Panama. I ordered it from Viilage Hat Shop and I must say they are quick and professional. I own a couple of straw Gus shape western hats that I wear while gardening or shooting but it it's nice to have a more formal straw hat. Straws make a big difference from felts and wools in the summer especially when it's 106 outside.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Quality Can Be Cheap

I found this fantastic pair of Bostonian Florentine Spectators the other day at Goodwill for the low price of $6. They are like new. There are almost no flaws except for some minor sole wear on the right shoe. They even still smell like leather. I can't imagine why anyone got rid of them but their waste is my gain. When I have the money I'm going to get them resoled. Even with that investment it's still a steal for shoes that were over $100 new.

I'm recieving my Panama straw hat in the mail today and I'm pumped. There will be pictures in the next few days.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sweet new hat

I got this sweet new fedora(actually old but not sure when)too bad it doesn't fit. It is beaver and comes with the original box. It is available for trade or sale. It's size is 71/8 I think and i would rate it near mint. My size is 7 1/2 in most hats if you want to trade. It is a work of art.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

An Ounce Of Prevention

I am a loyal viewer of the A&E series "The First 48" and I noticed that on more than one occasion the bodies of the murder victims had their pants around their ankles. At first it made me think that these men were being sexually assaulted but the results of the investigations found this to be untrue. While I was watching an episode a few months ago the answer hit me like a ton of bricks. When the gunfire begins the victims attempt to run for cover or away from the assailant but due to the fact that the victim is wearing his pants in a low sag his pants fall down around his ankles. Your pants around your ankles make it very hard to run away thus making it easier to kill you. If there is any reason better to wear your pants around your waist where they belong I can't think of it.

This post is in no way an attempt to make light of violent crime. I only mean to show that fashion trends such as sagging and wearing clothes two sizes too large are not only unsightly but can get you killed.

So next time you're in the store buying a pair of pants make sure they are the correct size and while you're at it invest in a good leather belt. Who knows beside saving your life adults may begin to treat you with the respect that all MEN want.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Once Common Visiting Card

Today I was on http://vistaprint.com/ designing my new personal card and I was reminded of it's great forefather, The Visiting Card. The Visiting Card was the gentleman's version of the business card. When you went to visit upon a member of a household, usually a lady, you handed it to the butler or the person who answered the door. You have probably seen the Visiting Card in an old movie when a male character handed a small card to a butler and he carried it to his employer on a small silver tray. The head of the household would read the card and determine whether to tell the butler to show the character in. If the person our male character wanted to see was not home at that time the butler would give to his boss so they would be aware of who called upon them while they were out. In real life gentlemen would leave it with a parent to notify their young lady who had came to see them while they were out or a house wife to give to their husband for the same reason.

There was a whole ocean of etiquette pertaining to The Visiting Card. Size and color were specific to gender and age and how a person presented their name among others. If you're interested in learning all these rules you can buy a copy Emily Post's Etiquette. I would recommend trying to get the oldest copy possible because I'm not aware if the new copies even mention The Visiting Card. My copy was written before and after WWII and it speaks as if The Visiting Card is almost extinct.

A whole host of reasons have done away with The Visiting Card first and foremost the telephone. People could call to find out if the individual was available.

The business card has managed to keep The Visiting Card alive and well for obvious reasons. I use what I call The Personal Card for much the same way The Visiting Card was used. I hand it out to people I meet so they will have a ready copy of my phone number and email address. It may seem like an outdated concept in the time of Blackberries but I repeatedly recieve compliments about my preparedness.

Well I hope I've inspired a few of you out there to take up the tradition of the personal card, the descendent of the late,great Visiting Card. Jerry

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Ever Growing List of "Basics"That A Gentleman Should Own

I figured my first entry of this blog should contain a list of the basic objects (suits to accessories) that a young man should have to seperate him from his Man-Boy bros. I am by no means an expert on fashion or well versed on the names of the high end clothiers around the world but I have managed to compile most of my wardrobe for rather little. However, I do believe that you get what you pay for so if you can swing it purchase items made by makers of good repute.

Also, as the title insinuates the term "basic" means different things to different people. The number of objects could easily grow into triple digits before you know it. I've try to make this list reasonable as I am aware that our current economy has put the pinch on us all. Well, without any further ado, here we go.

1. A dark suit- While you're free to own as many suits as you like, I recommend a navy or black suit because they match almost anything. In addition, dark colors show dirt less than light ones. Black can make you look like an undertaker so if that's a concern navy is a safer bet. Single breasted versus double is a personal choice as is the number of buttons. I personally like three button single breasted but you may not so try them all out before you buy. I don't mention waistcoats here because they vary in styles and living in Texas I dislike an extra layer of warmth.

2. Dress shirts- The number of shirts depend on the number of days you need them. You should change your shirt daily even if you don't think it smells. People around you notice things like that and one of those people may be important to your future success. A good number to start with is probably three especially if you work Monday thru Friday. Three shirts gives you enough time to make sure you always have a clean,ironed shirt in the line-up. If you have the cash by all means get five shirts but that's your choice. White and blue are my recommended colors because they match most things and don't go overboard. A loud shirt can ruin an otherwise great looking suit and tie.

Knowing your proper shirt size is very important. If the neck is too tight you'll feel like you're being strangled. If it's too loose you just look sloppy. I suggest trying on shirts at a store until you find the perfect fit and feel. When you've achieve this write down everything about the shirt including the brand name and the store. Unfortunately, sizes are not as standard as they once were and a large at one store may be the size of a XXL at another.

Long sleeves are a must. If you get hot you can "fold up" your sleeves. The short sleeve shirt brings to my mind the drunk salesmen that frequented a bar I used to work at. I can't explain my disdain for the short sleeve dress shirt other that it seems to look like an incomplete piece of clothing. There are two popular styles of cuffs available today. The regular and the french cuff. The french cuff is the style without buttons instead needing to be folded up once and then held closed with cuff links. While both look good,the french cuff can give you that little extra look of sauveness. Collars work on a similar angle with button down and non button. Additudes are for and against both styles but I guess in the end I vote slightly more toward non-button down. As I said there are pros and cons to both so let your heart be your guide.

3.Fine leather shoes- I've often heard that a person's shoes can tell you alot about them. I guess if that means a good shine is important I agree. A slob surely would'nt take the time to clean up his shoes or even pay attention to that detail in the first place.

A well dressed male has always been recommended to own a good pair of brown and black shoes. If you're only able to have one pair I recommend black because as I've said before it's a color that matches almost everything. It is paramount that you keep your shoes clean and shined . If you don't know how to shine shoes you can learn on a great website www.theartofmanliness.com. Learning to do this is even more important due to the unfortunate lack of shoe shine stands. Shoes are one of the objects I recommend you don't skimp on. A comfortable and quality pair of shoes will last a great amount of time and will look better than a cheap pair.

4.Ties- Styles and looks of ties are on of those things that are based largely on personal taste. I will however give a few bits of advice. I've seen very few men able to pull off the bow tie. The ones that can look good but are usually older and much more wiser than most of us.

A tie should be made at least of silk. There are higher quality fabrics available but since silk is even for sale at Wal-Mart it's not price restrictive. Besides silk looks good and polyester falls apart too easy.

The large end of you're tie should'nt be wider than about 4 inches. After that they start to look clownish and that's the opposite of what you going for. The skinny tie can look good as long as it's not to skinny. Neal Caffery pulls it off on "White Collar".

Just make sure you know how to tie a tie and you'll be ahead alot folks out there.

5.Hats- Hats are not an easy thing to talk about especially in a time when the only kind people wear are baseball caps. They are important in cold weather because they keep your head and body warm. Since I'm not much of a hat wearer I only have knowledge of a few styles. The fedora, the style men wore for about 50 years is my personal favorite for dress hats. The derby comes up a close second but can't be pulled off by everybody. The hat I wear the majority of the time in cool weather is the driving cap. It's a good style paired with most any ensemble.

One thing about baseball caps with a suit. It looks awful and anyone caught wearing them together should be drawn and quartered.

Oh and by the way take your hat off indoors!

6.Overcoats and raincoats- While it looks very good to wear a wool pea coat with a suit the best combination is the full length wool overcoat. While they can be pricey,the style is unbeatable.

On the other hand most of the time I wear the classic trench length raincoat. you know the one worn by flashers the world over. It manages to keep me dry when I forget my umbrella and also does a good job of keeping me warm.

Even though other coat styles can be worn with a suit I consider these two a "must have basic" for a well dressed gent.

7.Umbrella- Many people own umbrellas these days but usually forget them when it matters. Since a gentleman should always be prepared for the unexpected carrying an umbrella during the rainy season is wise. Regardless of how many you own you should have a formal looking one preferably matching your suit and coat. It may seem a bit outdated but it is a great way to strike up a conversation with a beautiful,wet lady.

There are of course scores of other accesories that could easily be put on this list but I have attempted to make it as basic as possible for a young man of meager means to begin to dress himself. I'm sure others will come up with more ideas. I just hope this list will be as helpful as it was for me. Jerry

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Fresh Start

I thought I'd start this blog by explaining it's purpose and my ideas for it's future. I recently came across the Men's Flair website and I was very impressed. However, I was also reminded of how rare good sources of advice about dressing well and being a proper gentleman have become. I was raised to be respectful and courteous toward everyone but I was always curious about the guidelines about ettiquette and such things that most people think to be outdated.
Well along the way I've managed to come across a few books that show a young man and woman how to act civilized. The sad thing is that both books were published before WWII. I'm sure you can buy an updated edition of Emily Post's Ettiquette but that seems to be the lone source of teaching manners and morals in today's society.
I am not a wealthy man but I do know how dress myself so that I do not appear to be homeless. In fact, I don't think you need to spend much money to look good. A large part of this blog will show you how I've managed to dress well shopping at places like Ross and Wal-Mart. I'm not saying that Armani suits are crap but not many folks I know can afford one. My point is to disspell the myth that you have to be rich to look classy.
Clothes will not be the sole focus of this site. I will spend a great amount of time just ranting about our country's lack of couth and try to prove that money does not have to dictate how people act toward one another.
This post has already gone on longer than I intended so I'll let go about your day and I do promise to be more focused in the future. Good day to you all, Jerry.