Winter outerwear

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We are deep into the winter season in California and whether you believe it or not it gets cold! Snow in the north, rain and frost can make anyone want to spark up a fire and just stay inside for the entire day.  However, most of us do not have the luxury to stay home each day the weather isn’t pleasant (bills need to be paid, ya know) so the proper outerwear is needed to get you from point A to point B as dry and as fly as possible.  Keep in mind one good quality coat is all you need to make it though any winter. Putting down a few extra dollars for a jacket that will last for several years is definitely a smart investment. But with all the brands, styles and fabrics to choose from what will work?  Choose what is comfortable, affordable and keeps you looking sharp.  The coat doesn’t have to be the latest and greatest you see in the store.  Why? Because another latest and greatest coat will be in the store next week. We suggest that you save your money and go with what works.

Here are a few options we like to rock on those cold nights and frigid days:

Wool coat: Whether it’s a top coat, peacoat or duffel, a wool coat will keep your body at the right temperature while the world around you is freezing. Wool coats these days are made to be lightweight and durable so you don’t feel as if you placed an extra 40 pounds on. Also a wool coat just looks good in either casual or professional settings. After you close that business deal you won’t miss a beat as you head out and get a couple of drinks with the fellas later in the evening.

Leather jacket: Rugged, stylish and timeless the leather jacket should be a staple in every man (and woman’s) closet. Perfect for the cool weather months and just an all around smooth piece of attire. What more needs to be said? Just be sure to be mindful of quality and price.

Puff coat: Some call them parkas, bubble jackets, or even down jackets but whatever the name this coat is a great choice. To put it another way, if you experience winters where the high temperature gets to about 10 degrees and the low is in the negative numbers then this coat is a requirement. It is lightweight and insanely warm, so much so you wouldn’t mind taking on a blizzard as you walk to work.  Please don’t actually do that though.

Trench coat: This item right here is vintage attire. A sleek and iconic coat so much so that movies had you believe if you had a trench coat you could move faster than bullets (the Matrix), romance any woman (Casablanca) and be the baddest detective ever (Inspector Gadget….okay, maybe not). By wearing a trench coat you have a duty to uphold, to exude coolness and a smooth sense of style like no one else because no one else can be like you. Wet weather will no longer be an annoyance as you head out to your job ready to take on the day.

Keep it smooth.

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You wear a watch?

First and foremost, I want to apologize for my lack of posting for the past 4 weeks. I’ve been occupied to say the least. Anyway, on to the subject at hand.

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A friend of mine decided one day to fully maximize his professional look, he was going to start wearing a nice watch. I’m cool with that.

I don’t mean the cracker jack box watches, watches you win at the county fair or find at a mall kiosk. I’m talking about watches that say distinguished, professional, mature or at a minimum a watch that says, “hey I make enough money to have a watch that matches my work clothes at the office or a night out”.

Yes, we have smartphones at our disposal and can easily reach into our pockets and bags to tell the time but if you believe that’s all a watch is good for at this stage in life you’ve missed it.  A good looking watch is an iconic symbol- a symbol of confidence and class. When I started wearing a good watch the complements I would receive were a bit surprising, ladies all over me (just kidding).   That being said don’t go out and purchase the most expensive watch you feast your eyes on, work within your level. Buying a watch like Tag Heuer with 3 different chronometric dials, 1/10th of a second display, interchangable bevels and is magnetically linked to the Greenich mean time clock for $4,500 isn’t logical if you are bartender and just use your watch to tell time. However, if it is logical then more power to you!

There a several variaties of noteworthy watches that are stylistic, smooth or rugged and daring, remember the goal is to have the watch reinforce your professionalism and your own uniqueness.  You are still a cool cat with the watch on or not, the watch is just the icing on the cake.

Day to day, I wear a casual Fossil watch for work and if I hit happy hour with the fellas, cost was $100.  In some circles this may be an expensive watch but it’s rugged, sturdy looks good and if anything happens to it I send it back to Fossil and get it serviced at little to no expense. That’s the business right there! If I’m out somewhere like a dinner party, wedding or church service I’ll break out a more stylish watch because obviously I’m dressed up more than I would at work. Not necessarily a more expensive watch just more in line with my attire and the event.

Again, it’s up to you how you rock your timepiece and don’t be afraid to experiment a little and challenge yourself with a design, a color or a brand you never considered.  With the spring weather those wrists will be exposed more often do them a favor a get a nice watch on them.

Belts, they still work

I have to admit, I was once a victim of this heinous act upon the world.  Subjecting myself to peer pressure and going against what was proper and descent just for attention or what we thought was our way of defying authority.  Unfortunately, this youthful expression unchecked can continue on into adulthood and transform into grown men who think it’s OK to walk around like this:

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I’m sure we’ve seen worse but the sad part is that the sagging “style” does nothing more than make one looking like you are in serious need of a diaper change. It isn’t pleasing to the eyes to see your ass just hanging out.   The origins of this fashion mishap – be it the prison system, popular culture, hip-hop, or poverty –  aren’t the issue.  The issue is a lack of home training, self-confidence, and self-identity.

It’s easy to be like everyone else but yourself during your teenage years. It’s easier to follow the crowd than blaze your own trail. However, one day – hopefully not too far into your twenties if not earlier, you’ll wake up and realize you respect yourself more than this; that you’re better than this.

No one is asking you to don a suit everyday or be a fashion guru but I know people didn’t fight for the right to vote, for equal access to education, and to be considered more than three-fifths of a human being just so you can look like a caricature on display.

Trust, we aren’t laughing with you.

Mastering the Sportscoat

I have to warn you, I have not at all mastered the usage of the stylistic and classic garment know as the sportscoat. I’m still working out the kinks of wearing a sportscoat but I’m sure while in my early 30’s I’ll have it down to a science soon enough. Sportcoats are worn like none other and in such a manner it derserved a post of its very own.

Every smooth gentleman must own a sportscoat. Why? Because it can work in just about any setting – house party, club, lounge, after party, movie – and can be worn with just about any clothing option.  Casual cool look? Jeans, polo shirt and a sportscoat.  Casual business meeting towards the end of the week? Slacks, button up and sportscoat.

Be creative and bold but don’t go crazy.  No need to pull out the bright colors with the hipster flare.  If you can do it and not have that old-guy-at-the-club look, then more power to you.

The Smell Goods

I remember the first time I sprayed on my father’s cologne and I am sure all of us have done this either to impress a girl, impress a group of girls or just to see what the big deal was.  I was twelve or thirteen years of age and of course I thought I was a man. My mustache was starting to surface, I was gaining some height and the girls at school were taking notice, yes sir! One morning after I showered, combed my hair I went ahead and put on my dad’s cologne (the one with the ship and nicely shaped bottle). I’ll definitely say this, me going overboard was an understatement.  I put the cologne on my wrists, my neck, my arms, down my pants!  What ever location I thought made sense in my thirteen year old mind, I put cologne there.  I even doused the back of my knees.  I learned a valuable lesson that morning into the afternoon.  Not all smell goods make you smell good and less is definitely more.

I know better now that I’m in my early thirties and know that it’s a duty to give back so those younger than me do no make the same mistakes. A quick breakdown on the do’s and don’ts of the smell goods:

1. Sample the cologne first:  This should be an obvious one.  You don’t buy a car before you test drive it first, same mechanics for cologne. Spray a sample on your wrist and let it marinate for a few seconds.  Let the scent introduce itself to you.  Then decide, “Yea, baby this ain’t gonna work out” or “Yea, you coming home with me baby!

2. Brand names aren’t always the best: Sure, you can go ahead and pay over $100 for that fancy bottle if you want to, no cashier will stop that transaction.  Truth be told, many men and women I’ve talked with say the difference between a $30 and a $100 bottle of cologne is slight.  Don’t get me wrong though, cheap cologne is cheap cologne and you should stay clear of it unless you like smelling like sour vinegar. Be sensible go for what works for you, not what a label tells you.

3. Apply just a small amount: Good cologne doesn’t need to be splashed all over you to smell great. At that point too much just makes you a sensory annoyance!

4. Have some variety: This is not to say you should have 9 different bottles of cologne at your disposal, but if that’s your thing more power to you! However, if you’ve been using the same cologne since age 20 and you’re now 32 maybe it is time to revise and upgrade.  You could be missing out on your new signature scent for the next 12 years.

5. Cologne is best after a shower, not before: Yes, cologne, even the best, cannot substitute for soap and water.  Do yourself a favor and those around you and don’t mix funk with your smell good. You don’t want to be that guy.

Keep the smoothness happening everyone!

The Almighty Hat

I have reconnected with the supreme stylings, the elegant contours of headwear. Sorry to disappoint some but the headwear discussed will not include ball caps, beanies or wave caps (for real, dudes still wear those?).  There is a time and place for them but I’m taking about mature hats.  I won’t go into detail about the different hat styles, methods of wearing a hat, storage, coordination of hat so on and so forth.  That will be for another post in the future instead I’ll speak on why a guy needs a good hat.  Picture this if you will, going out to dinner with your lady and you all are heading to a nice restaurant, movie and walk around the town. You get dressed to impress, slacks on, of course. Button up shirt and tie, indeed. Dress shoes looking sharp and clean, yes.  Coat on, you bet. Ready to go and enjoy the movie.  Whoa, hold up now.  Missing ingredient, and I missed it for years.

The hat is the centerpiece, the icing on the cake of your wardrobe. The one accessory a man wears that is immediately noticed and gives a glimpse of your uniqueness.  It adds an element of cool and compliments your outfit to give it extra presence.  Think of it this way, you can eat world-class gourmet pancakes or waffles without maple syrup/honey/agave if you want to but you won’t.  You can have a 5-star rated salad without the dressing but you won’t. Why? Because the honey, syrup and salad dressing add flavor and character to the overall experience.  That is what a good hat will do.  It will add flavor and character, the hat will bring out the distinguished classy appearance and enhance an already excellent outfit. At a minimum it will keep your head warm while you look good.

A good hat will let your persona shine through and women know a man who can wear a hat has that confidence.  I typically go with a fedora or kangol but you’ll find what works for you.  As mentioned earlier there will be a post on the different hat styles and the ways to wear a hat.  Once you take that step to embrace the almighty hat it is game over and you’ll be winning.