Tuesday, November 13, 2007

GQ Rules: 25 Essential Tips, Secrets, and Shortcuts Guaranteed to Improve Your Style... Part 2

11. Learn to tie a bow tie. Ok... learn may be a little misleading. Practice. Get a bow tie, get some instructions, and tie a bow tie. Then put them away. When you first hear of an event where your going to wear the tie, take it out and do it again. One week prior... do it again... The day before.... do it again. Now the day you go out the tie will look good and take about 15 minutes instead of an hour and a half... and your collar won't look like you slept in it.
12. Get a long dark scarf. Black's has cashmere scarves for 200, Gap has cotton ones for 40.
13. Learn how to form a dimple in your tie. The dimple in your tie is the small crease in the center just under the knot. It gets there by pinching the tie as you pull it tight.
14. Cordovan dress shoes are indispensable. Cordovan is not a color. Cordovan is a type of leather, originally from the backsides of French work horses. Today it generally means leather from horses and isn't as good as it once was but industrialization of farming has led to a lack of old workhorses.
15. If you want your suits to survive, dry clean them infrequently. This doesn't mean don't clean them though. Suits should never be dry cleaned if they aren't stained. Brush them frequently, steam them for wrinkles.
16. Puffy or multipeaked pocket squares are dorky. (Yours should be, well, square- like Sean Connery's.) Pocket squares should be worn... after that everyone needs to calm down.
17. Always stow a dress shirt at the office. White or blue, have your dry cleaner fold it.
18. Keep your Dopp Kit stocked and ready to go. Have both of them stocked... One that stays at work and one in your closet. Put everything you need in it. Medicine, products, whatever. I keep a small one in my car too. (By the way, Dopp Kit is actually a brand name for the original maker of small leather bags for toiletries.)
19. Tell your dry cleaner you want your dress shirts cleaned without starch and pressed by hand. This is difficult to do.... Most dry cleaners have gone industrial and finding one that will hand press can be hard. Saying no starch doesn't always help either because large presses usually have starch left on them from the last guy's shirt. I prefer to iron my own shirts. Wash your shirts as normal, hang dry, use Magic Sizing instead of starch.
20. The gray crew neck sweatshirt is an American classic.
21. Invest in a great shoulder bag. Call it what you want. Man bag, purse. A shoulder bag keeps junk out of your pockets and messing up your pant lines. Buy a good one.
22. When you wear your trim two button suit, leave the belt in the closet- You don't need one. If pants have belt loops... wear a belt.
23. Wear cuff links without a tie. But don't assume links have to be huge novelty items. Try silk knots for a more subtle look.
24. When wearing sunglasses with a suit or sport coat, wirerimmed aviators are your most refined and understated option.
25. Sambas are the one sneaker that always go well with a suit.

Monday, November 12, 2007

GQ Rules: 25 Essential Tips, Secrets, and Shortcuts Guaranteed to Improve Your Style... Part 1

Every so often GQ will issue a booklet of advice, usually given away for subscribing. Here's my take on this years with tips on making them work in Pastoral Urbania. (Text in italics are quotes directly from GQ).

  1. Buy a two button suit. Assuming you haven't already... This is a direct statement against the three button, which I believe is worn way too much. The three button is better for some body types, but usually makes you look like your trying to mimmick your favorite NBA star.

  2. Chances are, you're wearing your suit a size too large. Absolutely... This is why men look like they're little boys. A suit that's too large makes you appear to have ransacked your father's closet. Let someone who knows what they're doing help you and always try the same suit in multiple sizes before purchasing.

  3. Put toe taps on your leather soled dress shoes. I always forget to do this... Note to self....
  4. Matching wood hangers. Plastic is acceptable, wire is uncivilized, and matching wood hangers are perfection.

  5. If you're going to own one sweater, make it a charcoal gray v-neck. It goes with jeans, slacks, under a suit, even khakis... You can wear with a dress shirt with or without a tie, with a t-shirt, no shirt.... you get the point.

  6. A black J.M. Weston belt works with khakis, jeans, suits, everything. Except that it costs $350 dollars which for most folks is about $300 dollars too much for a belt.
  7. A dark, slim tie will instantly give any esemble a younger cooler feel. If you've ever tried to pull of a tie with jeans and felt like a dork then the width of your tie is probably the issue. I bought a nice navy tie at J. Crew yesterday about two and half inches thick.
  8. Your raincoat should be as trim and tailored as your suits.
  9. Invest in a classic one or two button tuxedo with peak or notch lapels. The reason for this is simple. Buying a tuxedo costs about as much as renting one twice. By buying one you can guarantee a good fit, dodge having to return it quickly, and your bowtie will actually untie.

  10. Don't waste money on a fancy lint remover.