Friday, May 22, 2015

On Watches

I've previously posted on watches, but that was years ago; I've grown up, and learned a lot. In that post I made some suggestions based mostly on aesthetics, and that's not all there is to it when you are buying a watch you'd like to have forever. For instance, in that post I mentioned a Ted Baker watch that I had at the time. I don't have that watch anymore. Because it was a piece of crap  with a 50% plastic movement and it stopped working. Considering I paid under $100 for it, I should've known better.

If you're new to the watch world (that is, nice watches), then the task of buying your first can be daunting. There are a million options, a million more terms, and tons of places looking to take your money with a watch that looks nice, but will fall apart in a year or two. So if you're new, that's OK. Don't be frightened: I'm here to help.
  • Spend at least $500
Anything less and you're probably dealing with either a fake or a low-quality watch. This isn't a hard and fast rule, but it's a good rule of thumb for someone just starting out.
  • Buy from a watchmaking brand
Avoid fashion houses that also have a watch line like Diesel, Burberry, or Michael Kors. Most of them outsource and you'll end up paying for the brand name instead of for a quality timepiece. Look for brands that make their money from making watches: Hamilton, Longines, Frederique Constant, Tissot, Raymond Weil and others will serve you well.
  • Aim for versatility and simplicity
Since it's your first quality watch, don't buy some massive showpiece. You're aiming for a watch you can wear almost every day with whatever you have on, so buy something with a steel band or simple brown or black leather strap (depending on the tones in your wardrobe.)
  • Avoid Quartz
While there are certainly some nice watches out their with Quartz movements, it's hard to know which ones they are and as such, best to avoid them. They will keep time fine, but the quality just isn't there. Look for a watch with an automatic or mechanical movement, and if you can, make it Swiss.  
After you hit those points, it falls down to taste. I like a simple, elegant watch, like the Frederique Constant Slimline pictured above. But that may not be your jam.

If you think you're ready to finally have a nice watch that you can be proud of, head over to Jomashop. They have a huge selection of amazing timepieces in for every budget and taste.

ProTip: Fossil does not make quality timepieces. Even their newer Swiss Made line, while serviceable, is dubious.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

On Bags

FashionBeans recently posted a feature on bags that you should buy, or could buy, if you wanted to tread in the higher echelons of fashion. They do a great job with offering some great looks and then giving options from struggling actor cheap to Tom Cruise crazy expensive. But they also include a few styles of bags that are best left at home--or better yet, left in your childhood.

Let's start out with the fact that no adult with a job should be wearing a backpack at any time during the workday. Backpacks are for school, hiking, and visiting foreign countries. And I suppose an exception can be made for bike commuters, though there are plenty of alternatives that would do just as good a job. No, I don't care how trendy your Herschel Hemp Collection Little America Backpack is, leave it at home or don't buy it at all. The guy above (from the Herschel website) looks like he is waiting for his bro JJ to pick him up for a gnar History of Wool in America course at the learning annex that their other mutual friend Bozzy said they just had to take. But you know Bozzy isn't even going to show up. If you buy a backpack, your friends should and will ditch you.

In addition to backpacks, you can go ahead and rule out the cross-over bags (also known as satchels) that the feature mentions. Those are one step away from a fanny pack.

And all to say about the tote is, be prepared for lost of this. Totes are for the Hamptons or other coastal adventures. Not for your day-to-day lugging of goods. Because the fact of the matter is, as an adult, your day-to-day lugging should be kept at a minimum. You should, at this point, have a good idea of the minimum you need to carry with you to do your job.

So how should you carry your things? I'm assuming you may need to bring a laptop or some documents to work, or your probably don't need a bag at all. So depending on the amount of crap you do need to bring to and from the office everyday, you could go for the folio mentioned in the article, or some soft-sided briefcase. Travelteq carries beautiful choices for both (I have the "Trash", above), but may be a bit pricey. ASOS has a decent folio for less than $60, and you can get a nice bag from Fossil for $228.  Whatever you use, make sure it's sleek and doesn't add much to your overall profile. If it's too bulky, you might as well just carry everything in your pockets for how ridiculous you'll look.

Finally for a weekend trip, all you need is a weekender (that's why they call it that). The best one I've ever seen is the Hooks and Albert Garment Weekender (pictured above). It's got a spot for everything you might want to bring, and while not cheap, will last forever. My sister-in-law got one for my brother on my recommendation and he loves it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Summertime Shoejams

With my recent realization that Teva still makes sandals, and even collaborates with other brands, I thought it might be prudent to dispense a bit of guidance. After all summer is nigh and the urge to expose your feet will be greater than ever.

I had been under the impression that Teva had gone the way of Airwalk: defunct and now only worn ironically or as part of a costume (or both). I was wrong, which isn't to say that I should be wrong. But which is to say that there's no reason for you to wear Tevas. So I guess the thought behind Tevas, according to the write-up for the collaboration linked above, is to "keep you securely fastened across the heel, ankle, and foot." Luckily for you there literally hundreds of other options, none of which will remind you of the family vacation you took when your dad wore tube socks with Tevas. Summer calls for you to have at least few options at the ready: a nice pair of sandals, flip fops for the beach, and  loafers or mocs.

Some people might suggest that the idea of a "nice" sandal is an oxymoron. I would suggest to them that they are an oxymoron, and then run away snickering. Look for something in leather that provides coverage over your feet (but doesn't cup your toes). The pair above is a good look to aim for (though the price is steep on these). A heel strap is fine, but should be subtle and discreet, like your sexts.

For flip flops I don't think you can beat Olukai. They are immensely comfortable and not too expensive. I know everyone has their favorite flip-flops, but if you don't yet, grab a pair of Olukai and you won't be sorry. I've had mine for 5 or so years without an issue.

For loafers or mocs, the world is your oyster. You can rock a more formal loafer, a driving moc with softer more pliant leather, or even some boat shoes.

If you're outdoorsy, you may also want to grab something "amphibious," like Keen's Class 5 Tech. They'll cover you if you're on a day hike and have to ford a river or something. And like just about everything Keen makes, they'll be comfortable.

Pro-Tips: Save your flip-flops for the beach or the backyard. No one needs to see that much of your feet in any other environment. And invest in some no-show socks to help keep the stank out of your footwear in the hot summer heat.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Unacceptable: Jaden Smith

Jesus Christ.

If you've lately felt a deep burning hatred stirring within your soul, with nowhere to direct it, I've found your solution. I don't endorse hating anyone or anything, but sometimes its just too easy.

Jaden Smith has achieved "The Worst" status.

That's what he wore to prom. Which on it's own wouldn't be terrible--I can get behind getting wildly creative and going as an angelic Batman to prom. But first, he wore this same thing to Comic Con and, worse, to Kimye's wedding (why was he there?). And on top of that, there's the interview in which he (and his sister) walked all over an interviewer who apparently left the idea of follow up questions at the door. And before he apparently deleted it, his Twitter account was a goldmine, including:

"Every 7 Years Your Body Is Completely Replaced With Entirely New Cells So Just Because You Look The Same Doesn't Mean You Are."


"How Can Mirrors Be Real If Our Eyes Aren’t Real"

What's the point of all my ranting? Wear a tux to prom. And if you wear a Batman outfit, you shouldn't be able to say "Oh, I think I'm gonna wear my Batman costume," as if it's a regular thing.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Stolen Features

Sometimes (all the time), a website or a magazine or a billboard will show a great look, or a set of looks, or part of a look. And then you check the price tag and you wonder how anyone who actually subscribes to those magazines or looks at those websites could possibly afford that look. The fact is that the people who can afford most of the clothes in the magazines and in features, they don't look at prices. They have the freedom to just buy. With that in mind, this post (and similar ones to follow) will take those same looks, and show you how to get them on the (relatively) cheap. Enjoy.

Mr. Porter posted an excellent feature on what they called foolproof dinner looks. Of course, all the looks are spot on, but they also come in at no less than $1,380.00. That's for the fourth look. That's right, the one with the rolled up faded jeans and Nikes. While that may be budget shopping for Kanye, you probably aren't looking to spend $575 on a sweater, especially not one with blue suede patches.

Look One
ProTip: Go ahead and splurge on the watch. A nice watch can last a lifetime. Look for something over $300 with an automatic mechanical. You should own watches with brown, black, and metal bands. The first you get is up to you, based on your wardrobe on how you'll be wearing it. 

J. Crew Ludlow Suit $425
Banana Republic Polo $50
Allen Edmonds Oxfords $385
Hamilton Intra-Matic Watch $845
Bulova Classic Watch $150

Their Price: $4,020
Your Price: $1,010-$1,705

Look Two
Club Monaco Knitted Blazer $200
L.L. Bean Signature Chambray Shirt $50
Bonobos Chino $88
J. Crew Striped Shirt $45 (same as theirs)
Sebago Sloop Loafer $120

Their Price (not including shoes): $1,695
Your Price (including shoes): $503

Look Three
ASOS Tweed Blazer $135
Ledbury Dress Shirt $125
Bonobos Trouser $128
The Tie Bar Tie $19

Their Price: $2,200
Your Price: $407

Look Four
Our Legacy Jacket $230 (also from Mr. Porter)
J. Crew Sweater $50
Levi's 511 Slim Fit Jeans $47
Nike Air Max 1 $110 (same as theirs)

Their Price: $1,380
Your Price: $437

Look Five
Suitsupply Suit $639
Banana Republic Shirt $80
The Tie Bar Tie $19
Allen Edmonds Oxfords $385

Their Price: $3,825
Your Price: $1,123