EASY SUMMER LOOK

A painfully simple way to style an outfit that’ll help you not sweat your face off.

So I’m one of those fellas that really doesn’t like wearing shorts. I have a few air that I will wear when the occasion calls for it, but by and large, I’d rather wear jeans/pants. This poses a unique challenge when those waves of summer heat are rolling through. Here’s my approach to keeping your vibe without sweating your face off.

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CUFF THOSE PANTS

Take the same pair of jeans you always love and give them a couple extra rolls. Let those ankles breathe! I know it might seem simple, but that little bit of airflow can make a world of difference.

DITCH THE SOCKS & POP ON SOME OXFORDS

Summer heat is best combated with as few and thin of layers as possible. So socks of any substance more than an ankle sock is asking for trapped heat against your skin! I prefer an oxford over tennis shoes simply because they instantly class up your look. 90% of guys out there will be in sneakers or sandals. This shoe alternative creates some distinction and instantly elevates your look. And fellas - ask nearly any lady and they’ll tell you that shoes actually do matter!

ROLL IT, AND UNBUTTON IT

No matter what kind of shirt — tee or buttons, give those sleeves a couple rolls! I’ve said this before in a separate post… but I’ll say it again. This creates a “finished” look with literally any shirt. If you’re in a button-down shirt, open it up a bit more… leave one or two of those babies unbuttoned. That extra airflow is a literal game changer, and it gives you a more effervescent and carefree look.

No matter the outfit… khakis or jeans… tee shirt or button down. No matter the environment… a local watering hole or a special event. This look transcends it all, and is a foolproof way to add simple and tasteful style to an otherwise ordinary outfit.

Cheers, dear ones. Let’s keep it cool this summer!

OVERCOMING FASHION FEAR

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Being human means we’re a wild and wound up ball of emotion. That’s the best and the worst thing about being us. What I’ve found is — as we change and grow, the way we express ourselves does too. The things we choose to wear and the objects and environments we surround ourselves with can be a powerful outward expression of that inner journey. But one emotion can stunt and hijack both that inner journey, as well as how it’s outwardly expressed:

FEAR.

As a younger fella, I allowed fear to dictate much of my experience. (I think we all do in different capacities.) I wanted to be accepted and I wanted to fit into a tribe, so I expressed myself in ways that were a giving-in to the fears of otherwise being rejected. Don’t get me wrong… I always cared about style and all these bits of fashion nonsense… but I constantly battled this little inner voice that reminded me of my teenage years when I felt judged by my dad just for briefly changing my hairstyle from a good Christian side-part to that quintessential late-90’s middle-part. I could spend an hour unpacking what my journey has looked like in coming to terms with my fears, but instead I’ll focus on YOU, and on three factors to expect as you confront whatever your fear might be when it comes to fashion. Here it goes:

YOU’LL FAIL.
Experimenting with personal style means you’ll probably get it wrong many many times before you finally get it right. That’s how literally everything in life works… so it’s OKAY to fail and try again. One day many years ago my ex walked into the bedroom and she started laughing hard at me and making fun of me. Why? Because I was wearing black skinny jeans, double-monk wingtip oxfords (fancy dress shoes) , a tacky striped tank-top, a fedora, and a gaudy gold watch… nothing about it made sense. But here’s the thing: I was trying. And the 2019 version of me looks back and applauds old tacky old version of me, because it was part of the journey. Swing, miss, swing, get a base hit, swing, get a home run. Just keep stepping up to the plate!

YOU MAY BE JUDGED OR TEASED.
I remember standing inside the Goorin Bros shop in Portland Oregon… I saw their Dean The Butcher fedora, and I was drawn to it. I put it on, and loved it. I’m a also a slow adopter to new things… but I bought it anyway and started wearing it every day almost immediately. For literally months all I heard were jokes ranging from, “Hey there, Smokey the Bear” to “You need to give Pharrell his hat back!” The irony is, that brim has become a staple for me and it’s one of the best style purchases I’ve ever made. I was at a fashion event just two nights ago and someone from Goorin literally spied me out of the crowd and introduced themselves, saying, “I knew I recognized that Dean The Butcher!” Judgments be damned - just give it a try!

YOU’LL LEARN TO BE DISCRIMINATE
This is a good thing! Part of a journey of establishing a more specified style or sense of fashion means you’ll be exploring yourself more, and in so doing, deciding what you do and don’t like, what does and does not work for “you”, and establishing guidelines that will lead to easier buying decisions in the future, and you’l probably be surprised when you discover that this translates into other parts of your life as well. Developing taste for a certain thing means you will have a distaste for other things. That’s good because it helps you know what to say “no” to. The one word of caution is this: don’t get judgemental or arrogant. Stay humble and keep those newly choosey opinions to yourself! ;)

It’s all a journey. The key is to stay aware as we move through it. Cheers, dear ones.

WHY STYLE MATTERS

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THE REAL REASON YOU SHOULD CARE ABOUT WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE.

Spend five minutes with me talking lifestyle and man things and you’ll probably hear me gripe about fashion. And recently I had a conversation with a friend who said “but you clearly love fashion!”. I contested, as one does when they’re a rabble rouser. I contested the idea of loving fashion… but what I finally conceded to is caring about the way a human presents themselves. Which led me down a momentary rabbit hole and eventually to this conclusion:

STYLE = COMMUNICATION

Think about the first time you meet someone. Before a word ever leaves their mouth, you’ve already made a multitude of judgments about them. Judgments based on things like their posture, the kind of clothes they wear, any tattoos they may have, hair, accouterments… every little detail serves as a visual cue and clue on who they are as a person, and we make quick, subconscious decisions based on all those factors. If someone has sunken, poor posture, they can be mistaken as lacking confidence. If they wear a certain brand or label, we might assume something about the potential degree of affluence they enjoy (or debt they carry….)

So why do we do this? It’s not something we can even help or always control. We’re hard-wired to make these instant decisions and predictions. Because it tells us if the person we’re interacting with is “safe” to talk to, or if we better steer clear. It’s an extension of our most primal of instincts!

So this is the point: when you get ready each morning and look in the mirror, pause and ask yourself, “What am I communicating today?” And the next time you pull that new garment off a rack and head to the register, ask yourself the same thing: “What does this say about me?” You’ll be amazed at how this little question can serve as not only a barometer of whether that decision is a good one, but also how it begins to focus your wardrobe in a direction that makes sense for “you”.

We’re all gonna put on some clothes today. The question will be, what’s it going to say about you? Cheers, dear ones.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT HAT

THE DO'S AND DON'TS OF SELECTING A HAT

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Long before my hair decided to disappear off the top of my head at the ripe old age of 21, I was a hat guy. From when I was a kiddo wearing my Atlanta braves hat, to this day with all my fedoras and beanies and nonsense, I've always loved a good lid. So much so that now people often don't recognize me if I'm not wearing one! And because I've always worn them, I've somewhat taken for granted that I developed a sixth sense for how to pick the right hat. So here are three things to consider when picking a new hat:

1 - You might hate it at first.
I'm a verrrrry slow adopter to new things. Like really. It's because I like what I'm already comfortable with, and because I'm super picky. So sometimes I have to decide, "Hey, I think I'm really gonna love this once I get past my own issues." And sure enough -- that is exactly what happens. Example: the brown fedora I'm known for wearing all the time now? Yep. Alllmost didn't buy it. Alllmost didn't wear it after I did. And even after I did start wearing it, there was about a month where people teased me about it. (Side note: most of them had terrible style so who cares? Just being real, y'all.) Now it's become a staple and I love the thing. So if you're like me... just give it a try. You might be surprised!

2 - Don't be cheap.
Seriously. There are a lot of things that you can get by with buying something on a budget, but buy a few less latte's and use that money to buy the RIGHT hat instead of the cheapest alternative to the right hat. A hat is literally one of the first things someone will take note of when they see you, because its right next to your FACE. While some aspects of the fashion world have closed the gap in terms of finding quality pieces for cheap, hats aren't entirely there yet. The closest you can come is Brixton, but even a Brixton hat doesn't measure up to a good Goorin Bros hat.

3 - Choose colors and textures that fit your vibe.
Think of a hat as the thing that will be your accent color and say something. It won't shout something... it'll just nod and smirk a little. For me, I always use my hat to just barely offset the color of my wardrobe. A brown hat against black or blue denim. A green beanie to do the same. Or a mustard beanie to compliment the mustard chain stitching on the back of a denim shirt I wear. If you wear a lot of natural materials, choose a hat that compliments that as well.

4 - Think Symmetry and Proportions.
Symmetry is a theme you'll hear me talk about a LOT. It's basic mathematics and basic design. When things are in proportion and have proper symmetry, they're easier on the eye and more pleasant to look at. So when you pick a hat, take note of if it is in proportion to the shape, height, width of your face. The dome (or the "crown") of the hat should be roughly a half or a third of the height of your face, and shouldn't exceed the width of your face much, lest you end up looking like a mushroom. :) In terms of actual fit, I also typically recommend buying a hat that is just barely too snug (if you're between sizes) because it will stretch and give just a bit, and end up being a perfect fit. 

5 - Own the look.
At the end of the day - half of what "sells" your look is if you wear it with confidence. You can ignore any of these considerations I've mentioned, but you have to do it with intentionality and you have to own the look!

Cheers, dear ones.