Posts

Buckshot Brogues

6 December, 2011

buckshotbrogues.jpg

Found these online today. The contrast between dandy dress shoes and the violence of a weapons is pretty damn cool and a perfect peacock. Why buy them when they’re just begging for a DIY though. You do own a gun, don’t you?

Cheating on Fit

5 December, 2011

With fit being the most important aspect of dressing well, most men who are just starting out are left in a tough spot. Either they pay for all new clothes, or they pay to have their existing clothing altered. Neither one is an especially cheap option.

My recommendation is to start off buying one new piece or having your tailor tweak with one existing piece at a time .

For most of us, our clothes don’t fit because they’re too large. Let’s say you have to wear a shirt and tie to the office every day like I do. That’s a lot of button-up shirts to replace. There’s a cheater option though, and this option is a lot easier now that the winter months are upon us.

 

Here’s a picture of an old shirt I have that doesn’t see much rotation in my closet. The sleeves are too billowy and the body of the shirt balloons out at my pants – not particularly flattering. I like the color of this shirt and it’s a good one to have around if the laundry hasn’t been done and I’m in a pinch.

 

Here’s my cheater solution. With a fitted sweater over the top, no one has any idea how poorly this fits. I still get the color on the cuffs and collar and I don’t have to have it altered. On top of that, the sweater will work with any shirt I have that doesn’t fit.

And here it is with my jacket on as well.

 

The sweater cost me ten bucks at H&M a couple of years ago. Cheaper than having a single shirt altered and now I can wear a few extras that hang out in my closet if I want to. Easy.

If you go the cheater route, get a neutral color. Things like grey, blue and brown go with almost everything. I personally avoid black because it’s too overplayed but if that’s your personal preference, run with it. The sweater isn’t a permanent solution but it’s a good cheater option while you’re building up your others.

Positive Masculinity on TV

4 December, 2011

Positive masculinity on TV is a rare find these days. I’m entertained by shows like Modern Family, the Big Bang Theory, and the Office, but none of these has any example of a good male role model I’d want my sons to look up to.

On the opposite end there are shows that portray masculine, alpha males who are entirely morally ambiguous. There’s a lot to be learned about proper frame and growing a spine in shows like Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire; but at the end of the day, it feels like you’re cheering on the bad guy half the time (because you are).

That being said, there are a few shows that I’ve stumbled upon recently that have really piqued my interest and portray positive male role models. None of them is perfect and all three are tainted by writers still adhering to the modern zeitgeist of feminism, but the good in these shows far outweighs the bad.

Life

 

Was on NBC and only lasted two seasons – which is too bad because this is a great show. My wife and I just finished watching the entire series on Hulu and we both enjoyed it.

Life follows the story of Charlie Crews who joins the LAPD as a detective after serving 12 years of a wrongful life sentence. He was framed as a cop and sentenced to life in prison but was proven innocent after 12 years.

It follows the typical cop formula of each episode containing its own crime but still telling a larger story overall. What makes Life so good is how Charlie handles adversity. He seeks out justice on his own when the system fails him but he never loses his frame. He converted to Buddhism in prison and uses his Zen practice to always be in control and impervious to the majority of emotions that come from working in a high-stress job like LAPD homicide. Crews doesn’t bury nor does he ignore his emotions, he controls and channels them. It’s a perfect example of the balance illustrated in the saying “A man who is controlled by his emotions is a child. A man who has no emotions is a robot.”

Manly traits: Frame control, emotional control, strong sense of justice and fairness, ability to get back up after being knocked down, confidence without excessive bravado.

White Collar

 

Neal Caffry is a world-famous con artist who ends up teaming up with the FBI agent who caught him. I like both of these characters quite a bit. Peter Burke – the FBI agent- is a good example of your average man who loves his wife and his job and does his best to take care of both. No flash, no complaints, just going after what he wants and doing it well.

Neal on the other hand, is a great example of a likeable cad. Woman love him, everything always goes his way, he’s handsome and dresses impeccably. (For a site about men’s style, this is the show I recommend most to step up your clothing game.) He’s also another great example of frame control. Rather than using Zen and being willing to make everyone else uncomfortable while in his own frame, Neal is the perfect example of amused mastery. He’s so used to everything working out for him, that it’s rare to see him even break a sweat. I’m only a few episodes into the series and I’ve seen him con his way into and out of a good number of situations.  These are streaming on Netflix.

Manly traits: Frame control, amused mastery, adaptability, excessive confidence without arrogance, stylishness.

Justified

 

Of the three, this is my favorite. Airs on FX with season three starting in January, Justified follows US Marshall Raylan Givens as he’s sent back to work in Harlan County Kentucky. Givens is a bit trigger happy by modern standards but would’ve been considered relatively tame a hundred years ago. He’s quiet and in control. Great example of a Sigma male.

The majority of this show takes place in the sticks of nowhere Kentucky. The people are poor and have strong Southern roots. Essentially the men are men with the women being feminine in comparison but tougher than any man in suburbia. Of the two seasons already aired, there are steady recurring characters and a main antagonist with minor side stories each episode.

Givens is another great example of you – guessed it – frame control. The man never loses his cool. Guns, girls, whatever, he’s calm and collected. He’s also unhesitant when it comes to making quick decisions. He trusts his instincts and acts accordingly.

Givens is also a bit of a peacock. His trademark is slim jeans, boots and his omnipresent cowboy hat. He stands out as much in Kentucky as he would in California in his get up, but he pulls it off well and owns the style. He wears the clothes rather than letting his clothes wear him.

Manly traits: Frame control, strong sense of justice, stoicism, dry humor

There are a lot of similarities in these three shows besides the fact that they’re all cop shows (just realized that as I started typing this article). The most obvious is that these men are in control of themselves and it helps them exert control over the world around them. They do not let other people get under their skin; and if it does happen, they don’t show it. In their interactions with enemies, women, and superiors they all bring people into their world and their frame of mind. It’s a constant DHV.

Another glaring similarity is their confidence. While all three gained their confidence from different experiences, they all have confidence because of experience. These are men who know what they’re capable of and act accordingly. They’ve had their teeth sharpened and don’t live in the world of the hypothetical. They’ve taken risks with both failure and success as the result. They know what they’re made of and won’t be treated with any less respect than that worth.

While Justified is my favorite, any one of these is great for a lazy Sunday or an evening before hitting the sack. And while life isn’t like TV or the movies, there’s a lot to be learned from these characters and how they act and react to their given situations. Let’s hope TV keeps giving us a few gems like this to help temper all the other garbage out there.

 

Stealing Ideas

8 November, 2011

It’s no surprise to most men that anything found from a top-tier designer is going to look overly effeminate or too stylized. Even if they do design the occasional piece that looks masculine, it gets snatched up by effete hipsters who ruin all traces of masculinity in it (the lumberjack look anyone?).

But that doesn’t mean a man who likes to look like a man can’t take some cues from these designers and find something to wear that will make him stand out and still look like a man.

Here’s an example I found the other week.

 

As “hard” as he tries to look, this guy is relatively girly. But take a look at his traditional hunting vest. The leather is used to pad your shoulder from the butt of a shotgun. It’s in camo and he’s wearing it over  a tweed jacket. It even has cargo pockets on it. All of these are very traditional and very masculine in both style and function. So what separates this vest from one you’ll find at Cabela’s? First it looks like it’s made of wool instead of some modern synthetic blend. And second, is the fit. This is tailored to hug this guy pretty closely. I would assume that, were it not over his jacket, it would still look fitted but be roomy enough he could breathe.

For some reason, puff vests are huge right now. Men’s magazines are talking them up and it seems like every style blogger has a post featuring them. I like the way they look. But I’m going to scour eBay until I can find a traditional shooting jacket. It’ll be a quick trip to the tailor and I’ll have something that is unique, stylish and unquestionably masculine.

Steal ideas.

Better than a T

18 October, 2011

While button-up shirts, vests and suits have their place, there is room in a stylish man’s wardrobe for something a bit more dressed down. Yes a well-made T-shirt can be a part of that, but there are better options out there. Here are a couple.

 

The polo is the most common and recognizable of the T-shirt upgrade. The main standout is that it has a soft collar. There are usually two but sometimes three buttons. Never do up the top button and don’t ever wear a tie with one of these. It’s a casual shirt.

 

 

For me, the henley is a step up from the polo in both uniqueness and overall masculine appearance. I’ve heard it called lumberjack underwear and there’s no problem with having that kind of manly association. Essentially it’s a polo without a collar and can come in both short and long sleeve styles.

 

And speaking of long-sleeved, the crew-neck thermal is the last of the easy upgrades. What used to be long underwear is great as a layer on its own – especially in the fall. Throw on a tweed jacket and scarf over this guy and you’re set for any activity inside or out during October and November.

None of these options are anything ground breaking but I guarantee they will make you stand out without making you look metro. They’re stylish and masculine which means they’re exactly what you want.

The trick is the same as always, finding something that fits right. For short sleeves, you want the sleeves to hit somewhere in the middle of your bicep. Too low and it looks sloppy, too high and it looks like you’re wearing a child’s shirt. The other length aspect is where it fits on your torso. The rule with the polo is the same with any other casual shirt, it should fit just below or at your belt. Again, if it goes too low it looks sloppy and too high is mid-riff territory. Lastly, you want it to fit your torso. Slim cut, athletic fit, custom fit – whatever the name for it – it just needs to fit your body instead of blousing around you. Thankfully, this cut of shirt is getting easier and easier to find.

The best thing about these shirts is how cheap they are.