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Reviving The Check Shirt

The check shirt is an item that even the most fashionably inept individual can relate to.

It’s a classic piece that transcends the wardrobes of men across the globe – from sharply dressed city boys to rugged, blue-collar workers.

Their popularity is plain to see; you only need to walk along your local high street for confirmation. But this popularity comes at a price, and quite a serious one at that. The problem is, check shirts have become a little boring. Certainly not as an item in itself – they’re available in more patterns, sizes and palettes than ever before – but the way it is worn? I feel as though it has lost its edge.

All too often do we see large groups of men staggering around town after dark in horrible shirts, terrible jeans and pointed black shoes. Too often do we see check shirts worn un-tucked under shiny blazers. And too often do we see check shirts worn in the most dull and uninspiring ways imaginable.

Yet this is a timeless piece that has a lot to offer the modern style-conscious gent – way more than what your local city or high street might suggest. It’s possible to become too comfortable with our clothes; simply following the crowd and trying to fit in. The majority don’t think outside the box and are reluctant to try new things.

  • The check shirt is one of these safe options and if we really want them to work for us in a unique and contemporary way, we need to re-evaluate the way we approach them.
  • With all this in mind, here are three styling techniques that will help breathe new life into your current collection…

Beard & Moustache Trend

Dear Beard and Moustache Trend,

You are living it up right now, aren’t you? You are blasting “(I’ve Had) the Time of My Life” from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, I bet.

I don’t blame you — you’ve got almost every hipster male, “with-it” dad and a scattering of unaware loggers wrapped around your little hairy fingers. Good for you. It’s no sweat off your sack, it’s not like you have to kiss these wooly mammoths.

Sure, Beard and Moustache Trend, you’ve got a point — it does make an otherwise wimpy, jelly fish, namby pamby look like a strapping, virile man — much like the ever-masculine Mr. Keaton from Family Ties. I’ll concede that beards and moustaches aren’t always terrible on the eyes, it’s just everywhere else they touch that’s terrible.

  • I, for one, am done with you. I am done with having to weed through a nest of, well, face pubes to get to my man’s lips. I said it — face pubes. Oh, I’m sorry — are they something different? Okay, then they are hairy food catchers with an upper net and a lower net. Much less disgusting. In the past six months, I can’t remember one meal where I haven’t had to point out some stray dinner on my man’s FACE PUBES.
  • I’ve never been keen on your trend (clearly), but I am not opposed to a wild summer of Tom Selleck lip or a wintery season of Abe Lincoln face. The latter makes great sense — one might need some extra warmth during the frosty months. But summer — COME ON! You cannot tell me that it is comfortable to be breathing through a carpet on a hot summer day. Score one for you Beard and Moustache Trend — you’ve got ‘em all fooled.
  • My son and I were recently out for ice cream with our own wolfman and right after I told him he had something dripping off his lower hair nest, I spied two males walking by. One was a card-carrying beardo and the other one was the most amazing looking man I’d ever seen.

Not because of his features — at this point, I could give a shit about that — but because of his rare, soft, flesh-colored cheeks and chin and the supple skin that covers that entire area which I have not seen up close nor touched in what feels like an Amish decade. You may have pulled the wool over the eyes (and entire face) of all those neon-wearing, indie-rock and/or metal loving, Toms-tapping fellers, but you haven’t got them all.

Watch your step, Beard and Moustache Trend, because I just declared that not having a beard and moustache is the new having a beard and moustache. It’s way cooler to be clean shaven, guys. Hear me? We (I) are (am) not digging it anymore. Time to ditch the Teen Wolf costume (and even he didn’t take it as far as adding a moustache).

Face pubes.

Yours truly,

Brandy

P.S. For the record, even though I dislike you, I like you a hell of a lot more than your creepy cousin, the Goatee Trend.

Source: Huffingtonpost

Modern Man’s Elegance

The concept of elegance has changed and fashion rules are constantly updating with style innovation.

Men’s guardrobe must haves like suits or double breasted blazers that were once used for occasional vernissages or for work are nowadays worn for any occasion. Elegance has lost it’s formal feature becoming more casual and urban and it has become a sort of passepartout for everyday life.

  • Perfect line
  • Total care from head to toe
  • A little aesthetical habit
  • Curiosity and the will to experiment

You shouldn’t be afraid of looking too old style, suits have new lines that are totally in favor of versatility so that you can mix together chic elements from casualwear and sportswear.

The ultimate features regarding men’s style that redifine the concept of elegance are: tight jackets reduced in length , smaller or larger revers but above all low waist trousers with tapered legs.

The new temptation is to get rid of the old schemes and play with patterns an colours making daring combinations using dramatic details and playing with proportions. The point is to express our creativity through our personal taste. Future of style is adapting one’s liberty to elegance .

Looking for few basic rules?

No Brown In Town Rule

I am all in favour of the ‘classic’ style rules, but sometimes we just have to concede that times change and style must evolve…
So why is it still only the select few mavericks who will wear brown shoes in the city?

After my recent visit to Jermyn Street I found myself craving a pair of new brown shoes to add some spice to my wardrobe. On searching I could hear the words of gentleman from a bygone age ringing in my ears…. ‘No brown in town’!

To add to the dilemma, when looking in the window of my favourite shoemakers shop windows, there were the finest brown leather shoes on display – even though these stores were in the very heart of the city.

It was enough to make any modern gentleman reach for his wallet! I did manage to resist the temptation and decided to do some further reading. I found a mountain of evidence justifying this outdated rule, but precious few who were willing to go against the grain. I did stumble upon a fantastic blog by The Shoe Snob – Justin FitzPatrick and his great post no brown in town yeah right. I feel completely vindicated as Justin is clearly an expert. Justin also appears to have a genuine fondness for Edward Green shoes, and if they are good enough for the shoe snob……

There are so many new and interesting combinations available to you when mixing your wardrobe and shoes. It will also make having a shoe rotation a whole lot easier (shoe rotations is a post for another time). At the end of the day, it’s all about having a flexible wardrobe you can get the best out of. Much of your classic wardrobe can be brought to life by brown shoes. I appreciate the more traditional amongst you will shudder at the thought – but as the modern gentlemen evolves with the times, so will the classic style rules.

No brown in town? You must be kidding!

Men Should Not Be Alone

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him…”

So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”

  • There is little that is so difficult for a person to bear as loneliness.
  • Prisoners held in solitary confinement have told of rejoicing to see even a spider – at least it is something alive.
  • God created us to be communal beings. Yet our modern world is frighteningly devoid of relationships.
  • In many areas of life, technological progress has resulted in the deterioration of community. Increasingly, technology has made people seem unnecessary.

As the elderly are placed into retirement communities or personal-care homes, as factory workers are replaced by hi-tech robotics, as young men and women search in vain for meaningful employment, they fall into cycles of hopelessness. Some depend on the help of therapists or psychologists, and others seek avenues of escape such as alcohol, drugs, or suicide. Cut off from God and each other, thousands of people lead lives of quiet desperation.

To live in isolation, whether outwardly or inwardly, can lead to despair. Thomas Merton writes:

Despair is the absolute extreme of self-love. It is reached when a man deliberately turns his back on all help from anyone else in order to taste the rotten luxury of knowing himself to be lost… Despair is the ultimate development of a pride so great and so stiff-necked that it selects the absolute misery of damnation rather than accept happiness from the hands of God and thereby acknowledge that he is above us and that we are not capable of fulfilling our destiny ourselves.

But a man who is truly humble cannot despair, because in a humble man there is no longer any such thing as self-pity.

We see here that pride is a curse that leads to death. Humility, however, leads to love. Love is the greatest gift given to humankind; it is our true calling. It is the “yes” to life, the “yes” to community. Love alone fulfills the longing of our innermost being.

God created us to live with and for others.

5 Brands Hipsters Love

There’s no one uniform look for hipsters, but you know one when you see/smell one. In fact, the term has become so ubiquitous that it’s almost, dare we say, mainstream? Whatever “hipster” is these days, there are at least a few consistencies.

Their tastes are both cheap and pricey, they’re disdainful of the average, except when ironically enjoying the average, and their love for certain clothing brands runs deep.

For reasoning that the hipster is entirely self-aware of, a few brands stick out to him as ones that can’t be tossed aside even if they become mainstream. Along with the reliable standby accessories of tattoos and beards, these are The 5 Brands Hipsters Love.

  1. Starter
  2. Fred Perry
  3. America Apparel
  4. Urban Outfitter
  5. Jeremy Scott

They may not want to admit it, but the average hipster’s closet is at least 35% Urban Outfitter and American Apparel. From the tees to the hoodies to the tube socks, this one brand essentially created the hipster archetype that anyone could hop onto. All it took was a trip to whatever mall the nearest AA was in, throwing down a few bucks, and voila, you can express your authentic individuality while looking like everyone else.

5 Must Have For Hipsters

Hipsters are having the time of their lives this year, from the streets of Cairo, the Suburbs of Tunisia, the Squares of Madrid to Occupy Wall Street protestors.

It seems the world is having a hipster outbreak of great proportions. It seems to me that hipsters of the world have more than rage at bankers and politicians in common:

  1. Skinny Jeans seems to be the national uniform of hipsters wherever you go. Nothing screams louder that you are a hipster as much as those skinny jeans. Go ahead and tell me how much you paid for them, no I won’t be surprised. Messenger bags that come with a really long story.
  2. The whole T-shirt, ribbons, and wrist bands activism is getting old, no one cares about what worthy cause you support now. And do not think of sending me a Facebook invite to join a cause either.
  3. Fair trade diamonds. It’s great that you saw that Leonardo DiCaprio movie about diamonds, but do not drive your spouse insane about your unreasonable demands.
  4. A subscription to Netflix with at least 4 documentaries in your queue, a Hulu subscription where you catch the latest episode of your all-time favorite show Modern Family/Mad Men since you are too broke to have a cable.
  5. Vintage photos and pictures of some old ethnic guy smoking a hookah, a pipe or drinking that south American mate.

Bonus underground music made by people wearing skinny jeans and look like they don’t care.

Thrift Shops, if you build them, they will come.

Source: Reservoir Shop

Written by Fabio Attanasio

An old saying goes: “Always look at a man’s shoes, they will tell you a lot about him”.

The tenth and last article for Natural Gentleman is about the fascinating industry of the shoes. Just like for every other garment of a gentleman’s closet, also for the shoes a lot could be said and a web article may not be the most appropriate tool to write in depth about this matter. Provided that buying an high quality pair of shoes is a lifetime investment, it is essential to debunk the myth according to which expensive shoes, being rigid, hurt.

  • An excellent pair of shoes, except the case of an efficient marketing campaign, is not supposed to hurt and if this happens is just because of a wrong size or sole width. As for hand-made shoes, these are the basic steps. After the design phase, the leather and the lining are cut.
  • The next step is the binding phase in which the previously-cut pieces are put together to make the upper. Then the upper is mounted onto the form and stitched (in Good Year type, Norvegian, Bologna, Tyrolean, or Tubular).
  • Next is the sole-making phase that involves attaching sole and heel; finally the finishing phase is needed for the colour and the polishing. It takes twenty to thirty days to make a pair of shoes because there are technical intervals which must be respected: the finishing itself for example requires four or five days.
  • A tip: it is better to go for a “good-year welted” pair than for a blake one; only the first one can be changed if damaged and the shoes will return to mint conditions!

In the end, thanks to this nice (at least for me!) experience, not only did I have the chance to write down what I have learnt during the interviews of the past two years, but also it pushed me to reopen some dusty style books resting on my shelves, in order to check whether my statements were grounded .

Thus, I would like to thank the guys of Natural Gentleman for this opportunity and you Dudes for your enthusiastic feedbacks. It is a mix of details that makes a man elegant and for sure “clothes don’t make the man, but they can help a man look great”! ?

Written by Fabio Attanasio – author of the blog thebespokedudes.com