Saturday, October 11, 2008

Lucky Charm: not the cereal.

How many times have you gone out and seen someone that was perfectly dressed but then have your initial opinions of them shattered when they talk? While being well-dressed is great, the most important accessory that you can bring to the table is your personality... and more specifically, your charm. Remember to always be on your best behavior, and it never hurts to brush up on the habits of a modern-day gentleman. Your clothes may catch the crowd's eye initially, but your bewitching allure will keep them interested late into the night. Final verdict: always remember to treat women like royalty and treat other men like your friends, even if they are incorrigible. You want your charm to linger after you've left... like the last bite of a perfect dessert.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Rabbit Goes Around the Tree and then What?

As I was riding the subway home today I was wondering what else I could write about. I thought that maybe writer's block was going to take over, but all I needed was the poorly dressed pedestrians standing around me to give me motivation. The topic this time: tie length and knot style.

If you are a normal male that wears a tie, chances are that you know one knot. And that knot was most likely the one that your father (or other adult figure... or college roommate) taught you to tie when you finally needed to learn. There are, actually, several styles of knots to tie depending on the look you are going for and the collar style on the dress shirt. Here are some general tie rules and guidelines.
  • Learn at least the 3 basic knots (The four-in-hand, the half-windsor and the windsor) These knots can be learned from a variety of websites or books.
  • The bigger the knot, the wider the collar on the shirt should be (i.e. don't wear a windsor knot with a button-down collar).
  • Keep in mind the material and thickness of the tie that you are using. A thin vintage tie creates a much smaller knot than a 7-fold silk tie. You may have to change tactics after a couple tries if you can't get it to work.
  • Please, please, please take into consideration the dimple of the tie. The single dimple is the most classic but remember to keep it centered. The key is to start the dimple before you cinch the knot closed. In my opinion, the only other acceptable dimple variation is the double dimple... or what the Italians refer to as "la sorchetta." Once again, remember to center.
  • While your girlfriend or wife might think it's fun to tie your tie for you, don't let her do it. It just makes you look childlike. If she's offended, tell her that they are much more fun to take off.
Having just given more rules than you thought possible, let's not forget the second part of this post: tie length. If I see someone with a tie that is too long or too short I immediately assume that they are lazy. Lazy, you say? Why lazy? Well, my reader, a perfectly tied tie takes a few tries... so if they didn't bother to keep trying then they are just lazy. The key is to get the tip of the tie within the "perfect zone". Ideally, the left and right corners of the tie should just brush the top of the belt when you are standing straight with your shoulders back.
The only other acceptable way is to have the center tip touch the top part of the belt buckle.... thus making the tie a little shorter. On a final note, if wearing a sweater or vest, you may tie your tie shorter so that it doesn't peek out from under the top garment. Final verdict: these little tweaks may not seem like much, but they can instantly supercharge your style. It's the subtle things that set the truly fashionable apart from the aspiring.

P.S. - for the love of all that is good, do NOT tie neckwear and then leave it tied just so you can slip it on and off over your head. This damages the construction and will eventually leave permanent creases.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Dark Night

Night. Darkness. There is just something enticing about the late evening. Why has the night scene always been so seductive and why does it seem that some places "come to life" at night? My guess: evening allows one to become somebody that they can't be during the day. Think about all those co-workers you work with that seem to be dull and lifeless but if seen late evening are like an entirely different person. One reason for this change may be that we can step back and allow the shadows to envelope us, thus allowing our personality to shine. During the daytime many of us are self-conscious, but slipping into the night's embrace emboldens us with new confidence. The little voice in our head that says "they'd like you if they only got to know you" gains new strength and suddenly you are able to enjoy yourself free from the eyes of the world.

Another reason, I think, why midnight's siren call awakens a stirring in us is because at times it can seem as if the world has stopped just for us. Think about the crazy speed and pace of your day-to-day life... and how different it can seem in the wee hours of the morning (provided you aren't tossing and turning in bed). Throughout my life I have loved staying up until the world begins to go to bed. A late night walk can be so relaxing and you can hear yourself think without worrying about being interrupted (unless of course you have friends in other time zones... like say you lived in NYC and you had friends in ummm Oregon). Final verdict: if you aren't the type to usually stay up, try it with a friend or spouse and you might be surprised how much you enjoy it.

The Glorified Scruff

If you've watched any show on tv recently or have seen pretty much any fashion ad with a male model you may have noticed that "scruff" is back in fashion. If you haven't noticed that, there might be a chance that you live under a rock. But Grant, you say, I can't grow a beard... in fact I can probably go a week without shaving and only begin to look like a baby peach. If that's your problem then this post probably isn't for you.

Being somewhat of a "babyface" myself, I can only envy those that are able to pull off this uber-manly look. It has a rugged rawness that screams "I am man" but at the same time "I can still take care of myself." This has become a blessing for all those men that work in offices and daydream about surviving off the land somewhere in Montana. Final Verdict: Tom Ford, the sensual demigod of fashion himself, has been sporting this look for quite some time... and that should be reason enough to give it a shot. Pick a long weekend and just try it out and see what you think.