Throughout my sartorial evolution I have been lucky enough to find some brands that I really love and would suggest to anyone. In an effort to pass this knowledge and experience on to my readers, I will be periodically writing brand reviews. The first is in progress and will be posted tomorrow, but I wanted to throw out a quick little intro today, namely to address two topics.
First, this will be my basic outline for each brand review:
What I’ve Bought
Review of Quality
Review of Customer Service
What’s To Love
What I’d Change
Right off the bat, I want to put it to you readers to suggest/request any additional information from me. I think this covers everything pretty well, but I want to be as informative as possible so please, let me know!
Second, I just want to tell you all right off the bat that these reviews will not (at this point) be all that frequent. Honestly, this is just because, alas, I’m a poor fella, and I can’t afford to be trying new brands and buying new things all the time. I don’t want to be writing any reviews based off single items, or second-hand purchases, so these reviews will only come if/when I feel I have enough experience to make a solid recommendation. Now, I hope I get some awesome raise (or maybe some freebies?) in the near future that will allow me to shop my ass off and tell you all about it, but for now that’s where I stand.
So. First review to come tomorrow! Get those credit cards ready, I got some great suggestions!
Welcome to the second edition of Fashion Faux Pas, the on-going series on shit you shouldn’t wear (I’ll be the first to admit, this is mostly based on experience). Todays topic: picking your belt and shoes.
Brown shoes = brown belt. Black shoes = black belt. This may seem boring and conservative, but in my opinion it is one of those rules that should rarely be broken. First off, it is a widely known rule, and one that others will notice quickly. I’ve actually seen this on models on some online stores and it drives me crazy (I think I actually was a big enough asshole to e-mail a company and tell them their model looked like an ass). Second, I just think it is really hard to look good with mismatched belt and shoes. The colors don’t have to match exactly, but your leathers really ground your outfit, and if they seem disjointed the rest of your clothing will too.
Fortunately, todays slightly bolder fashion world does allow some room to branch out from the standards. For example, as colorful D-ring belts are becoming more acceptable with formal or business-casual clothing, belts have become a great way to put some pop into your clothes. I actually have this belt from Levi’s on the way and am really excited about the options that it will open up.
Bottom line though, when you’re wearing standards like black and brown leather, stick to tradition and make sure those suckers match.
I decided it was time to follow through with my promises of recurring themes in my blog posts, so we are revisiting ‘A Tip Of The Hat to…” and delivering another review! Once again I’m writing from my office without the luxury of a camera or pre-shot photos, so I will be providing another review and suggestion of a fellow menswear blogger to follow. This editions subject is Tumblr’s very own Broke and Bespoke.
Here is a man to make you jealous. Not only does he have the most unbelievable thrift-shop game, he also has a pretty damn good sense of taste (if you ask me). From his apparent love of tweed and odd-jackets (which I share whole-heartedly) to the great photography and no-fluffs blogging style, this is a really fun one to follow. While you won’t necessarily be able to go out and buy the things he is wearing, you can get a lot of style inspiration from his outfits and reviews, as well as some encouragement to add thrifting to your regular shopping options, even for high end clothing. On top of that, apparently he has just been added as an editor for #menswear. I don’t really know what that means, but I assume it means he knows what he’s talking about (and before you give me any of that ‘assuming makes an ass out of you and me’ bull-snacks, give it a read, tell me I’m wrong)! No joke though, his thrift shop game is out-of-this-world-jealousy-inducing. Be warned.
You can also follow Broke and Bespoke on twitter at @BrokeAndBespoke. Posts come pretty often, with usually at least a WIWT (What I Wore Today for those of you new to the lingo) and some photo outtakes every day.
Lastly, to the author of Broke and Bespoke, if you read this and have anything you would like to add, drop me a line! And keep up the dapperness.
Photo courtesy of Broke and Bespoke (his self-described favorite outfit, read about it here).
I already told you how important it is to take proper care of your proper clothes. Well guess what, your kicks need care too (unless they are, literally, Kix, then eat them. With milk. Which is caring in it’s own, milky way). I especially felt this was important to mention after yesterday’s post regarding buying shoes on eBay, because it doesn’t matter how good of condition those new used shoes come in if you dont take proper care of them going forward. The two most important things: shoe trees, and regular polishing. As someone who, until a month or two ago, had never had or done either of these things, this can seem a bit daunting at first, but really, I’m not here to tell you how to do these things, but rather to insist that it’s SO EASY. And kind of fun. Shoe trees are a piece of cake. Grab a pair of unfinished cedar trees with a full heel (you only need one, and you can get them for about $12.00 at Nordstrom Rack), and you’re good to go. Simply put them in your shoes right after you take them off. There’s no need to store them in shoe trees, it’s really just important to use them for about the first hour after wearing. This allows the leather to dry in its natural shape instead of shrinking, creasing, etc. as the moisture comes out. If the shoes are particularly wet, stuff them with newspaper first. DO NOT try to dry your shoes near heat, as it will cause the leather to crack.
Polishing is really just as easy, and just as cheap. You can get all the supplies at your local Target or Walmart or shoe store or anywhere really, but if you’re lazy like me, you can order quality brushes and polishes (Kiwi!) at AllenEdmonds.com (free shipping!) for around $5 a brush. Pick a day on a weekend, spread out some newspapers, pull up the you-tube instructional video of your choice, and get to polishing! You’d be surprised how easy it really is, and like I said it’s kinda fun. There’s a definite sense of satisfaction when you’re all done and holding a shiny-new pair of shoes in your hands. By the second time I did it, it only took my about 15 minutes. And if that’s really all too much for you, you can get shoe shines all over the place, and they only cost a couple dollars. Just make sure to shine and condition your shoes once a week if you are wearing them regularly (I shine mine while I watch the Walking Dead every week. Zombies and shoe shine….aaaahhhh, smells like a Sunday)!
I’m no expert, so I won’t give you a shoe-shine walkthrough, but take this as encouragement that, with all the resources out there, shining your own shoes really is something anyone can do and feel good about. If you have any questions, though, I will be more than happy to (attempt to) answer! Shine away, my friends.
One of the most important things to remember as you work towards upgrading your wardrobe is that these new, expensive clothes need to be taken care of or you are going to end up buying the same things over and over again, and personally, I can only afford to buy most of these things once. Here is my first of many tips on how to make your new investmests last:
Wear More, Wash Less: This has become a mantra of mine. It took me a while to change my habits, because it felt so unnatural (I was SO used to feeling like my clothes were dirty after one wear). But let’s think this through: Sure, when we were kids gettin grass stains or young adults with a lot of BO and not the best hygeine, it was really important to put on completely fresh clothes everyday before we started blending in with the soccer field or smelling like feet…all over. However, I would hope that we are all now capable of showering on a daily basis and keeping extraneous messes off of our fancy duds. The more you wash clothes and/or run them through the dryer, the quicker the fall apart. The chemicals involved as well as the general rough handling the washer will put your clothes through can be very detrimental. My advice: wear an undershirt and underwear and wash those after one use. This will keep your sweat and other juices off your clothes, allowing you to go several wears before washing. Trust me, you and your wallet will be much happier in the long run. ValetMag goes into some more detail with this great post on when to wash. I also recommend exploring the rest of their handbook for clothing-care tips, as they have some great ones.
There are a lot of other little tricks and tips that will help your apparell last through the years (as I mentioned, ValetMag Handbook has tons of great articles, and I will be posting my own over time), but this makes a huge difference, and is an easy place to start.
To start a new, ongoing series of blurb-ish posts (I hope I, nor any of you, are ever called blurb-ish, but I’m a fan of the word), here is my ‘fashion faux pas’ of the day (avoid these, and you’ll be a step in the right direction):
Ties at the wrong lengths: What bugs me about this one is it’s very easy to know where your tie should end, and it’s very easy to fix it if you get it wrong the first time.
The tie should end right at your beltline (while standing). There are few ways to determine this (have the widest point hit the top of your belt, have the point at the end hit the middle of the belt, etc.) that all accomplish basically the same thing. Obviously this is more of an issue if you aren’t wearing a jacket or a sweater or a vest (durr), but it’s a good habit to get into.
Having problems? If your tie is too long or too short, the first obvious fix is to re-tie and adjust. I read a tip to measure the length of tie taken up tying each kind of know (Windsor vs. Four-in-hand, etc.), and use that to guage where to start tying. Honestly, I tend to just untie/adjust/re-tie until I get it right.
Your tie being too short is never a big problem. Merely leave the back, unseen end of the tie much shorter. You shouldn’t really ever see this end, so you can make it as short as you have to as long as it still knots.
If you have an exceptionally long tie, try experimenting with different knots (for example, the Windsor knot itself takes up much more tie length than the Four-in-hand), or take something simple like the Four-in-hand and incorporate an extra loop.
There’s always something to try, which means there is never an excuse to commit this faux pas. More importantly, this is something that will never change, so get used to doing it right!
A theme of this blog is the recurring problem that as one becomes more enlightened to the ways of looking good, one’s taste in clothes (and then things, and then women….haha) gets more and more expensive. Unfortunately, not all of us have the financial means to keep up with those tastes, which leaves a lot of us with the problem of not being able to afford what we we want, but knowing too much about the alternatives to want to settle.
This post adresses what, to me, provided the biggest gap between want and ability (besides maybe custom/bespoke suits, but I guess I don’t really need one of those at this point in my life): Shoes. It really seemed to me that, unless I was willing to throw down close to $300 on a pair of Allen Edmonds, I was relegated to fake leather, synthetic soles, boxy toes, and every other sign of sub-par footwear. Then, I found eBay.
Ok, that’s a bit overdramatic. I already knew about eBay. But, I had never really tried to use it to buy clothes and shoes. I’m still iffy about buying clothes (too much of a gamble regarding unseen stains, snags, stretches, and, worst of all, smells), but I have found eBay to be a goldmine for finding high quality shoes in good (not new, but good) shape for extremely affordable prices.
My advice before diving in:
Know your shoe size: This whole thing really only works if you can confidently bid on a pair of shoes without worrying if they are going to squish your toes. I know I am a size 10 D, and so far have not been let down (size-wise) by anything with those measurements.
Stick to leather shoes: This goes back to my aversion to clothes and shoes that smell like other people. Decently cared for leather shoes smell like, well, leather. Running shoes, sneakers, etc., these things tend to smell like sweat. And feet.
Know the brands you like: It is way more productive to search by brand than by shoe type. If you search for “Brown Loafers” you will get way too many results and half of those are gonna piece-o-shit shoes. Stick to quality brands, and search using those names. I have a list of brands that I routinely check for on eBay. These are brands I have worn and loved, or are reputable brands that I have seen on other forums with styles that I know I love.
Look for damage to the uppers as well as wear to the soles: Damage to the uppers is probably the most important, as it is very hard to repair deep scuffs or scratches. Soles and heels can always be repaired and replaced (as long as they were leather to begin with), but just be sure to factor that cost into your budget if need be.
Set yourself a standard price limit, and use the filters: My method is to, every few days, start a search under ‘Men’s Shoes.’ I slap on a price filter and a size filter (I usually run with $50 max, size 10D), and then just start plugging in those aforementioned brands.
Lastly, stick to items ending that day: You can find a lot of great deals, but you will also see a lot of great shoes starting at really low prices and then skyrocketing in the last day or two of the auction. You will be disappointed over and over again if you start bidding too early. Look for auctions that are ending soon, or have a Buy-It-Now option (this is just basic eBay shit, so get with it, people!)
Applying those guidelines, I have started to build a hell of a shoe collection. Here are my recent buys:
I scored these nice, Johnston & Murphy wingtip brogues for $35 and free shipping. While Johnston & Murphy is bit below Allen Edmonds as far as quality goes, these shoes came in great condition for $35. The sole is barely scuffed, the heels are only lightly worn, and the leather uppers are in perfect condition. They are a little stiff, but I’m hoping with regular polishing and conditioning they will soften up nicely. These shoes normally run $175 on the Johnston & Murphy website.
I had been really wanting a new pair of brown shoes (mine were, horrifically, a bit square toed), so I went after these bench-made Brooks Brothers cap-toe oxfords and brought em home for just $45 (plus $10 for shipping). These show a little more wear on the soles, but the uppers are in great condition and they are very comfortable. I also love that they work casually and formally equally well.
My favorite shoes are these black, quarter-brogue Allen Edmonds I bought for ONLY $25!!!! I love Allen Edmonds, and tend to use them as a scale against which I measure all other shoe brands (so get used to it). I also love these shoes because they were part of the beginning of my wardrobe upgrade and are my first nice shoes. This was when I broke away from long toed, or square toed, or synthetic, or other crap - shoes and landed with a classy, comfortable (the leather on these is incredibly soft), and versatile pair of dress shoes. Couldn’t. Be. Happier.
Lastly: I JUST (as in just yesterday) received a pair of Original Clark’s Desert Boots via eBay (for a slim $35 + shipping/handling). I haven’t gotten to wear or photograph them yet (with my shitty iPhone camera, I feel like saying ‘photograph them’ is a little misleading, but still…), but I guarantee a full report soon! Shop well, friends.
Wide Eyes, Tight Wallets is making moves in this world. We now have our own twitter account! I’m sure I will continue to post updates on my personal account, but for those of you interested in menswear and the blog and learning more without being privy to my personal life (rude, but understandable), you can now follow the blog on twitter at @WideEyesTWBlog! Spread the word, make me famous!
I gotta admit I haven’t sold myself on the blog name, so don’t be surprised if it doesn’t stick for too long. I’d LOVE to get some more followers and maybe some input on this (because my girlfriend and pup have been completely useless in giving me suggestions, sheesh), so there will hopefully be on ongoing discussion of the matter until something sticks! So, for those of you already reading, let me know what you think!
Meanwhile, I will continue to write! Articles are on the way!
** Fun Fact: I used 7 exclamation points, italics and all-caps, all in this short article. I think I’m compensating for the fact that I’m really still sick and half asleep on my couch right now. Hmm… **
I’ve been writing a lot about this blog without actually blogging enough, so here’s a real post for ya! Exciting, right? Well this is a simple but crucial one, and I’m sharing what I have learned to be the most important aspect of looking good: fit.
You will read this on a million different blogs, but that doesn’t make it any less significant or true. The way your clothes fit goes ten times farther to making you look good than the clothes themselves. A $100 suit that is well fitted can look ten times better than a $5,000 suit that is not. Likewise goes for pretty much any type of clothing you can buy.
So if this is already spread far and wide on the menswear blogging network, why am I bothering to write it again? Well you might say it has something to do with my lack of creativity, but I say hell no! It’s because this fundamental of dressing is Just. That. Important.
Also, up next I will begin actually reviewing some brands and clothing that I have tried and tested, and I want everyone to understand that, because of this strong belief, being able to find a good fit is immensely important to me in rating and reviewing products. My favorite brands are my favorite brands mainly because they fit so damn good.
So what makes good fit? I will go into greater depth and specificity in future articles, but there are a few pretty solid ‘rules’ to finding clothes that fit according to modern as well as classic style. Here are a few big ones:
Honestly, I think the most important thing to looking like you fit in your clothes is to buy shirts that fit your waist (or get them taken in). The billowy tuck makes anyone look uncomfortable at best, and like they are playing dress-up in their daddy’s clothes at the worst. Look for fitted or slim fit shirts, as most regular fit clothing is made for fat people. Tailors and seamstresses can also easily add darts to the back of a shirt to get a slimmer fit.
Shoulder seams should rest on the corner of your shoulders. This, and neck width are the two main measurements a tailor won’t be able to change.
You should be able to fit one to two (but no more) fingers between the collar of the shirt and your neck without cutting off circulation.
Sleeves should hit the corner of your wrist and stick out one inch past your blazer or jacket sleeves.
These days, most style pros are calling for little to no break. This means that the hem of the pants should just rest on your shoes, or touch only enough to cause a slight fold in the lower leg. Don’t forget to consider whether or not you will want to roll or cuff the leg when considering length.
Personally, I think slim-straight is the best cut, but this can vary greatly depending on your body type. In general, you want something that you can fit into comfortably, but doesn’t hang off your body and pool at your knees and shoes. Don’t be afraid of a little taper in the lower leg.
The most important thing for fit on a blazer is the shoulder. Put the blazer on, stand next to a wall, and slowly lean into it. If your shoulder hits the wall before the corner seam of the blazer, it is too small. Likewise if the corner seam/pad of the blazer hits first, it is too large. Also, the modern trend is for a ‘deconstructed build,’ which translates to small to non-existen shoulder pads (sorry folks, looking like a box is out).
Pay attention to the armholes. High cut armholes will not only allow for greater mobility, but will also make you look less like a penguin.
The sleeves of your jacket should be cut at the wrist bone, one inch above your shirt sleeve.
Sides of the jacket should taper in to your body, but this is a quick fix for a tailor, and shouldn’t necessarily be a deal-breaker in the shop.
I forget this one a lot: make sure the collar of the blazer rests snugly against the collar of your dress shirt, and avoid that dreaded collar gap. Sometimes it is fixable, but it is often a tough task for a tailor (oooh alliteration)!
Lastly, you should be able to comfortably curl your hands under the bottom hem of the blazer (while wearing it of course).
I’m really not an expert, I don’t go to a tailor all the time, but these are the rules I’ve compiled from reading everything (honestly, I read everything) from GQ to websites of bespoke tailors to fashion blogs, and so far they’ve steered me right every time. Having clothes that fit you correctly makes an unbelievable difference. I’m not going to give the life coach bullshit speech, but honestly, you will feel more relaxed, less concerned about your shit bunching up or getting creased or untucked, yadda yadda, and you’ll look ten times better (and know it).
As this blog develops I will at some point go into more detail for each item of clothing regarding fit as well as other aspects like material and color, and PHOTOS!
Ok folks, the new and improved ———— blog has arrived! I say ————- because the biggest change is the name! I wanted to give this blog a unique URL that people might associate with more than my name. As fate would have it, somethinglesspretentious.tumblr.com is obnoxiously, well, pretentious. And any shorter version of the same was already taken (the plus side here is I can stop working so damn hard to incorporate that theme into my post titles). I went through a whole goddamn series of other names, each equally kickass while being dorky enough to be a blog title, but alas, they too were all taken (curse you likeminded but much quicker thinking bloggers)! Finally I’ve settles on “Wide Eyes, Tight Wallets,” for the incredibly complex reason that I want a lot (a LOT) of things, and I’m poor. Sigh. Along with this new title comes the new URL wideeyestightwallets.tumblr.com
Anyway, I’m not in love with the title. Soooo that’s where the second exciting announcement comes in! I have finally figured out how to add a comments section. You should still feel free to contact me with the ‘Ask Me’ link or on twitter (@adam_lehman), but I’m hoping this will help me get feedback on articles and the blog in general. The first question I have for everyone, and be honest, is the new name lame-sauce? On a side note, I would thoroughly love any name with the word ‘rocket-sauce’ involved. Just Sayin. Also, do you have any better ideas you would like to throw out there? Yes, I’m trying to exploit you readers for your intellect and wit. Deal.
Lastly, please, reread old posts, use the comments site, let me know what you think. If you like what you’ve seen, spread the word. I have some big ideas for this for the future, but they can only happen if there are people to read it!
Welcome back, readers. I hope you all got to enjoy a long weekend as I did, and if you didn’t I hope you hurled some carefully crafted insults at your boss early Monday morning. On the downside, I spent all of yesterday in bed feeling pretty durn useless and under the weather. I managed to drag myself in to work today, but I’m still feeling like hell so instead of ruining everyone’s wonderful Tuesday with a gloomy and bland post, I will instead spend what little energy I have upgrading the site. Come back tomorrow, see if you notice the differences!
Hint - the only thing I actually have planned is to add a comments section (shit, I gave it away)!
Meanwhile, follow me on Instagram at @WideEyesTWBlog and on Twitter at @adam_lehman to be sure to stay fully updated on just how sick I am feeling!
WOOOHOOO it’s Friday!!!! And in my overwhelming excitement I forgot to write a blog post today! Since I have other obligations (namely BEER) coming up shortly, I will leave you with just a quick recommendation to hold you over until my next full post. Todays recommendation comes to you courtesy of Frank and Oak. While I plan on doing a full review of Frank and Oak in the future, they sponsor a weekly #NecktieFriday competition on instagram/twitter. I have a blast contributing every week, although I have yet to win (grrr…**shakes fist at F&O**). Even better, though, is getting to see everyone else’s submissions. It’s a great place to look for some neckwear inspiration. While they aren’t all winners, even the less tasteful combinations have really helped me define my own style. I highly encourage everyone to check it out. Like I said, you can find it on instagram and twitter, or check out the submissions on F&O’s website (if you need to sign up in order to view, feel free to use my referral code http://vnlink.co/SaCJ8za, I promise I don’t mind)! My latest submission is above, shoot me an e-mail and let me know what you think!
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Look at these awesome socks I snagged for the occasion! I really wanted to wear these out on our date over the weekend but I was a bit slow getting around to ordering them and they showed up one day late (of course). Ooooh well.
I’ll use this picture to illustrate two quick things:
First, I love holidays. Besides the inherent fun of whatever day you might be celebrating (today we get love, chocolate, love, flowers, love, fancy dates, and love), holidays also are a great excuse to put a little extra pizzazz in your outfit. Today I have these cool socks, on Christmas I wore red pants and a bright green tie, etc. In fact, I try to go out and get myself something not-too-expensive but fun as a treat every holiday.
Second, a tip for price-aware shoppers: Find stores that offer free shipping with no minimum and check their low-end sale items often. That’s how I found these socks! I love to shop online but hate to pay shipping costs, so every so often I cycle through stores that I know will ship for free. I’ll look for any specific items I am in need of, but mostly I just check the sale section and see what I can snag for a few bucks. I got these socks for $6.00, barely even noticed the damage to my wallet, and now I have something fun to wear for Valentine’s Day!
That’s it for today folks! Now go do a little dance, make a little love, and get down tonight!
I hope all of you watched the State of the Union last night (or at least tried! I’ll admit, I had the time wrong and missed a good chunk). I majored in Political Science in school, but never really developed a strong passion or desire to enter the political scene, so my degree is mainly unused. However, I do believe incredibly strongly in the importance of politics and participation of the public. Nothing grinds my gears more than the apathy so many people show towards the political process. This shit matters! Pay attention!
Now that I have that out of my system though, how funny are the Rubio water GIFs going around the net? Man looked parched from the get go (honestly, he looked like he was on coke and had cotton-mouth, all licking his lips every two seconds, frothing at the mouth a bit…), just sayin’!
A goal of mine is to provide a series of reviews through this blog. There are a billion places to look for inspiration, but I’ve found it hard at times to find out how to make that inspiration happen. Half the time I’ll read a blog and think “Yes! You’re right, I should own a pair of classic khakis. What have I been thinking??” (true story. Somehow I don’t own a single pair of khakis) and then I’m slammed with the question of where, among all the thousands of khakis sold online, to turn. On top of that, I am horrible at making decisions on my own, so I love blog articles that tell me exactly what to buy. Here, I figure I’ll spread the love. Since I don’t have a gazillion dollars, my plan is to review things as I buy them (I’ll pick some old favorites that I already own to start things off), and will also sprinkle in reviews/recommendations of other blogs, people to follow on twitter, etc. I’ll also try to keep these short and to the point, which is not my strong suit (for that, I turn to this great navy wool suit I got from…just playing. I actually don’t even own a suit. Puns aren’t my forte either. Neither is figuring out how to put an accent on the e in forte. I digress).
Since I am writing this post from work (shhhh, don’t tell!) and didn’t plan ahead to pick something out/take pictures of anything before I left the house, I will do my first product review some other time, and today you will get my first blog review!
I’ll start with one of my favorites: The Style Girlfriend. Written by Megan Collins, this blog has gotten a lot of positive attention lately (it was featured in GQ in the fall). I love it for a few reasons. One is that Megan is great at providing specific examples for all of her recommendations. As I said before, a pet peeve is being given great style advice with no resources on how to make that happen. Megan constantly gives links to that great pair of Chukkas she’s featuring (StyleGF LOVES chukkas).
Another thing I love is that, as a girl writing about menswear, Megan gives a view that, while incredibly educated in the matter, comes from outside. Sometimes I find it hard to relate to all these blogs written by rich Italian men or experienced tailors or heirs to vast fortunes that seem to expect readers to have grown up in the world of men’s fashion. In this sense, Megan and her intern(s) write very applicable articles for readers who are just getting their footing and would probably feel pretentious using the word ‘sartorial’ on a daily basis.
Finally, it’s ALWAYS great to have a girl say you look good, so I love to follow Megan’s recommendations (go Chukkas!).
There’s lots else to love about her blog too, I definitely recommend it. You can read her articles at www.stylegirlfriend.com, follow her on Twitter (@StyleGF), and like her on Facebook too.
Before I post too many more articles, I wanted to give you a bit more of an introduction to myself and my style, and therefore what I will be talking about a lot on this blog. To demonstrate, feast your hungry eyes upon THIS masterpiece of a photo! Haha ok, so maybe not masterpiece, and honestly it’s not the best picture ever (thank you random iPhone self-timer camera app). However, I am proud of the way my gorgeous girlfriend and I look, and this does a decent job of illustrating several of the sartorial lessons I have learned thus far.
This picture is from this past weekend. We decided to skip the crowds and celebrate Valentine’s Day a few days early and take advantage of Chicago’s Restaurant Week at the same time, we got all dressed up and had dinner at Farmhouse Tavern (by the way, I highly reccomend everything I mention in that last sentence). While I wear a tie almost every day and try to look my best at all times, I don’t really dress up all that often, so I was excited by a chance to do a little extra with my ensemble.
I already had the brown blazer and the charcoal trousers that I really liked (thank you Frank and Oak, who will be getting a full review at some point. I absolutely love their clothes and service), so I decided to use that as a base to build on. I snagged the shirt during the last few days of Charles Tyrwhitt’s winter sale (a steal at $35, normally $160. CT will be getting a review in the future as well). It is my first shirt with french cuffs, so I got to order some cuff-links as well. I wanted to look sharp and stylish, but not super formal or over the top, so I opted for a pair of Navy and Pink silk knots. You can’t see them in the picture, but the navy comes across as the main color, allowing the pink to more sublty compliment the shirt.
Next I moved on to the tie and pocket square combo. The pocket square was another first for me, and I wasn’t really sure where to start, so I looked for some professional advice. A GREAT resource is Tie Society. Check out their services sometime (you may have heard of them as the Netflix of ties), but my favorite part is that they will give you tie and pocket square matching advice. Even better, they don’t limit themselves to their own selection, and are really interested in helping you look good. I’ve talked with Jake at Tie Society countless times and he has really helped me improve my look. Back to the point - I had my eyes on a dark grey wool tie with light ‘cornflower blue’ pinstripes from The Tie Bar, and was originally thinking of a navy-based pocket square. In the end, after discussing it with Jake, I decided on something lighter and more classic and went with white linen with lavender edges (also from The Tie Bar, and you guessed it, review coming). The white lightened the whole outfit up a bit while the lavender tied it to my shirt. I love tie clips, so I threw on a dark grey one as well.
Lastly, after talking to Jake I decided that while it is OK to wear brown shoes with charcoal grey pants, the shoes I had were a bit too dark to go well, so instead I opted for a pair of black half-brogues from Allen Edmonds that I scored on eBay for only $30. I ordered a pair of great heart-patterned socks from Nordstrom for the occasion, but they didn’t arrive in time, which was a bummer, so I went with a pair of grey and black argyle socks I have that are accented in lavender.
And the FINAL touch: a goddamn stunning woman on my arm. Honestly, the key to looking good, ever.
Anyway, like I said I was pretty proud of the final outcome. I followed a lot of ‘rules’ I have found while matching patterns, colors, textures, etc. to put together something that looks like a good outfit, and not a collection of separate pieces of nice clothes. I wanted to give you a taste of my style, and where I am on the sartorial spectrum. You won’t find me at Pitti Uomo or NY Fashion week or in any street style pics, but I think I’ve got the basics down. Future articles will spend more time on individual aspects of outfits such as this (blazer fit, trouser break, cuffing, etc), and will include the afforementioned reviews among other topics, but this is just glimpse! Let me know what you think, what you would have done differently, any input you might have!
So far I have not actually published this blog or shared it via the interweb. I wanted to give myself a chance to write a few entries, test the waters, and see if it was something I was interested in enough to keep doing and diligent enough with to write and contribute regularly. At this point, I’m vaguely confident that I am ready to get this out there and more than vaguely impatient to do so, so HERE YOU GO, WORLD!
Keep in mind this is still in development and I will continue to polish and refine as time passes (for one, this will hopefully be the end of picture-less posts). Please, read through my previous posts, ALWAYS feel welcome to comment (this is as much, if not more, of a learning experience for me than anything else), and enjoy! I will be posting a complete article later today, and plan to keep trying to write on a semi-daily basis, so check back often!
Also, as I will be pimping this out through my other social networking outlets (primarily twitter), feel free to follow me on twitter (@adam_lehman) and instagram (@WideEyesTWBlog).
This is going to be my first semi-serious fashion related post on this blog. Recently, even over just the past week, I haven’t been able to escape the novelty tie knot. This includes (but is not limited to) the Merovingian knot (illustrated here by MensWearStyle), the Eldridge knot (illustrated here by AgreeOrDie) and the Trinity knot (illustrated here by BlackLapel). I feel that in order to be completely truthful in these blogs, I have to say that these all just make me gag a little. Here is my reasoning:
1) One of the things I love most about menswear is the resistance to trends and fads, and the ability to stand out and be noticeable without resorting to novelty tricks. Timelessness, elegance, class, these are all things I associate with quality menswear, and my goal is for my attire to reflect these attributes. The reaction I look for when I dress isn’t, “holy hell! What is that on your neck?” or, “that is CRAZY.”
2) I read somewhere once, and fully agree, that a tie should literally and figuratively tie together an outfit. It shouldn’t be the centerpiece. I have a few bright or patterned ties, but I am always careful to make sure they accentuate other parts of my outfit, rather than sticking out like a sore thumb. I think these big, in-your-face novelty knots can be jarring when you look at an outfit in its entirety (especially when paired with sleek and classic outfit, like a white dress shirt or a simple suit).
3) The last is more personal preference. I prefer my knots to be a little more casual, less symmetrical, and I strive to avoid the big “Dorito” triangle in any of my knots. This usually just means I don’t tie a Windsor very often, but these knots go above and beyond the Windsor in terms of (if you ask me) clunky, conformed shape, which (once again, if you ask me), takes away all the subtle, sexy class that neckwear brings to an outfit.
Honestly, I pretty much only ever use two knots, and have not really been too tempted to branch out. I’m a skinny guy on the shorter side of average height and I wear fitted shirts and skinny ties. I also rarely go full suit, and am, if anything, overdressed at my job. This has led me to the 4-in-hand as my go-to knot. The lack of symmetry makes it a bit more casual of a knot, which helps me dress down a bit to fit the office atmosphere. Additionally, it is a small knot, which looks more appropriate both when using a skinny tie and on my frame in general.
When the occasion calls for something a little more formal or substantial (spread-collar shirt), I go for the Shelby/Pratt knot. This may seem a little unorthodox, but I have very simple reasoning. Most people in these situations reach for a Windsor, or maybe a Half-Windsor. I prefer the Pratt once again as a slightly smaller knot. My take on the Pratt is that it is basically a Windsor-styled knot that they make a half-wrap skinnier by essentially starting with the tie inside-out (give it a try and see what I mean). This gives me a knot with a solid structure that doesn’t take over my neck. It’s also a little shorter of a knot which helps steer away from the ‘Dorito’ problem.
Essentially, find a knot that works for you, and stick with it. Leave the crazy knots to the boy scouts (har har har, I know) and find other ways to stand out, or just stand out by looking good among all those schlubs out there!
For good directions on how to tie any of these knots, my friends at Tie Society have an ongoing series of instructional videos, and you can find step-by-step drawings all over the web. Practice makes perfect! To see some of my knots (not that they are anything special), check out my instagram at @WideEyesTWBlog. I try to participate in Frank and Oak’s #NecktieFriday competition every week, and most of my submissions are on instagram.
As you will find in subsequent blog posts, I have recently developed a bit of a sartorial passion, if you will. I got a new job at the end of last summer and took it upon myself to incorporate a whole-life upgrade to go along with the career move. A big part of that was trying to dress better, more like a grown up. Not knowing where to start, I began reading GQ and the whole thing kind of developed from there. Since then it’s become a great hobby that, while not gentle on my wallet, should hopefully benefit me for years to come.
Throughout my quest to better my wardrobe, I have come across the incessant issue that I have more expensive taste than I can afford. This probably comes from the fact the I research the bloody hell out of anything I get interested in. Once you know what makes a $150 custom made dress shirt better than the $20 one I snagged at H&M, it’s hard to forget, and it’s hard to settle. Therefore, I have spent a good amount of time trying to reconcile this fact by finding ways to get great clothes without ending up under a mountain of debt.
That in mind, I plan on dedicating a significant chunk of this blog to chronicling my ‘sartorial journey’ if you’ll allow me to sound like a pretentious buffoon for just a moment (I’d also like to throw in the words ‘vestiary’ and ‘sprezzatura’ while I have your permission). Keep in mind that just 6 months ago most of my clothing came from Plato’s closet, and that while I have come a long way, I am in no way an expert. I’m not going to be giving design and fashion tips, or predicting the next big things in menswear. However, I have gotten a pretty strong grasp of the ‘rules,’ and am gaining more and more confidence in finding stylish ways to break those rules. At this point I’m eager to start throwing my ideas out there, to help other people like me ‘find the way’ (pretentious buffoon again, I know), to share useful tidbits, and to get some feedback if anyone wants to give it.
So now I’ll stop rambling and leave this too-long post with a quick short tip:
Buy shoes on eBay! More on this later…[edit: I had some good tips written out here, but tumblr took it upon itself to delete them, so this will come as its own post in the not-too-distant-future. I promise.]
I’ve considered writing a blog for a long time now. I really enjoy writing, and hardly get the chance to any more. I also have interesting thoughts every so often, and sometimes I wish I could share them with more than my puggle and my girlfriend (even though they are both unbelievably adorable). Now I’m finally taking the leap.
So, the first step is the obvious logistical issue of: what do I blog about? Do I have a theme? Do I write? Do I post pictures? Honestly, I have no friggin clue, which is probably why I haven’t done this before. I’ve been throwing around ideas for so long now though, I figured I may as well just start the damn thing and brainstorm as I go. Here are some of the ideas for themes I had so far:
What Time Is It And What Am I Doing?
1. 12:34 on Thursday Afternoon. Blogging.
2. 7:36 on Friday Evening. Blogging.
3. 11:57 on a Tuesday Night. Sleepily blogging.
You get the gist.
My girlfriend suggested that I write a blog about Lloyd, the Chicago rat. In this blog, Lloyd explores his deep-seated emotional distress caused by his poor stature in society and the fact that everyone hates him, and his paranoid suspicion that someone is trying to poison him…
Bowel Movements Reviewed:
No sample posts necessary.
Obviously none of of these are strong winners (I’ll leave it up to you to decide if that’s because they suck, or because they are all too damn good to pick one over the other). So for now, this blog will remain themeless. Hopefully over time a theme will carve itself out and this thing will really take form, but until then it will be a collection of my musings (FYI, my interests lie heavily in politics and menswear, so expect a lot of ideological rants about gun control and abortion alongside pictures of shoes and ties). Enjoy.