fashion, lifestyle, dating and humor for the average guy

Archive for the month “March, 2014”

Is this the future of buying clothes?


The digital-online shopping revolution has occurred.  So has the food truck movement. Now the two are joining forces to take on the world of fashion.

They’ve taken their game plan directly from the food truck phenomenon that rolled into the L.A. area more than five years ago. They spruce up their trucks with bright colors, cool graphics and catchy names as they tweet out information about when and where they’ll pop up next.

But instead of serving fusion tacos, organic burgers or lobster rolls, they’re hawking fast fashion as part of the latest business trend to hit the streets: fashion trucks.




Let us know what you think


Sports Report: Big changes in college athletics are coming.


We are in the middle of March Madness but the real news in collegiate athletics isn’t happening on the basketball court.  Thanks to the Northwestern football team, college athletes can now unionize.

Wednesday the National Labor Relations Board ruled that according to federal law, members of the Northwestern football team qualify as employees and can therefore unionize.  The board found that football players materially contribute to colleges and universities collectively earning billions of dollars through ticket sales, television rights, merchandising and licensing.

In addition there is a case currently working its way though federal court from a group of current and former college athletes seeking compensating for the use of their names and likenesses being sold in entertainment packages by athletic conferences.

While the NCAA has defined students athletes as engaging in their sport 20 hours per week in season and 6 hours per week off-season, the reality is football players (and many others) routinely put in 40+ hours per week relating to just their sport.  The results of their work generate millions of dollars for each institution and fill  the pockets of  conference officials, coaches and athletic directors with multi-million dollar contracts.   Unbelievable example number one is Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith.  Smith’s contract calls for a base salary of $940,484 with the potential to hit $1.5 million dollars with bonuses.  This past week Smith earned an extra $18,447 because wrestler Logan Steiber won a national championship in the 141 lbs weight class.  Yes 18K because a wrestler, an athlete who gets a fraction of the benefits and support of a division one college football player, won a championship.  Does Steiber get anything?  Maybe a handshake and pat on the back.  His coach?  Probably not nearly as much as the  CEO of the athletic department, AD Smith.  Since when does a non-profit educational administration official earn a bonus larger than the annual earnings of many of the residents of his state?

Sixty years ago tuition, room and board may have been fair compensation for athletes.  The revenues and benefits to their respective institutions was considerably less.  Today billions are earned, people are getting rich and the athletes who put their bodies on the line get essentially the same thing they did 60 years ago despite significantly more risk and serious long-term consequences to their health.

Are college athletics a business? Three major conferences (Big 10, Pac 12 and SEC) own or are partners in their own television networks.  College teams and players are featured in video games.  College players are essentially paid with athletic scholarships that are directly tied to their participation and performance in the athletic program.

What do the players hope to achieve with their new-found status?  Better health/disability coverage for current and former players, improved head injury policies and procedures, the ability to pursue commercial sponsorship, potentially additional stipends to cover living expenses.  Possibly even a share of the revenue they create places into trust for them to access following their collegiate careers.

The impact of this decision will reach far beyond division one football and basketball programs.  There are issues of gender equity under Title IX that will require policies put in place for revenue generating men’s sports to be extended to women’s sports as well as non-revenue producing athletes.  There are going to years of challenges from institutions, conferences and the NCAA.  Yesterday’s ruling applied only to private institutions, not public universities, so there will be repercussions as public institutions react to compete with their private employer competitors for the athletic services of the next round of college all-stars.

One thing is for sure.  There is too much money in the game today for this to be the end of what is going to be a long and drawn out saga of legacy institutions fighting to protect full control and ownership of the revenue streams they now enjoy.

Selvedge denim. What the heck is it and does it matter to me?

Every industry and profession has its own secret language.  It serves to help people in the field communicate in a standardized way despite language differences.  It also serves to exclude non-professionals in that field from practicing or claiming to have a high level of understanding of the relevant material.  It’s a handy way of making yourself more valuable.  In my years working in sports medicine/fitness/performance I’ve been guilty again and again of tossing out latin anatomical terms and physiological references that only someone with a similar background and education could understand.  It makes my athletes and clients more dependent on my expertise and keeps younger, less experienced professionals in their place if they get to cocky about what they know.  With time some of the common terms from any industry make their way into the everyday language of the average person.

The world of fashion and apparel is no different, encompassing its own secret set of terms and directions that are apparently very important but make absolutely no sense to the everyday consumer.  One of the terms that has recently started to make the transition to consumer products is “selvedge” or “selvage”, most commonly used in reference to selvedge denim.  In its most simplistic definition, selvedge refers to the way that the edge of a woven fabric is finished so as to prevent the edge of the fabric from unraveling.

3Sixteen SL-100X Indigo Selvedge

3Sixteen SL-100X Indigo Selvedge

Denim is woven on a loom.  Prior to the 1950’s it was woven on shuttle looms, usually 30 inches wide.  In selvedge denim made on a shuttle loom one piece of thread is woven back and forth as opposed to individual threads being used for each weave.  This creates a smooth edge instead of the frayed edge that we are used to in most of today’s clothing.  A pair of jeans made from the material produced on these narrow looms takes about three yards of fabric.  For economic reasons, manufactures wanted to use the entire 30 inches so they finished the edges of the fabric with a straight outside seam featuring colored thread.  Different types of fabrics would be distinguished by different colored threads.

As jeans gained popularity in the 1950’s shuttle looms were replaced by faster and less expensive projectile looms.  These new looms produced wider pieces of denim that could then be cut and sown together.  Thus the end of selvedge, at least temporarily.  Some of the older looms made their way to Japan.  In the 1980’s there began a popularization of classic Americana in Japan and this included vintage clothing.  Adopting older American styles, Japanese fans started to roll up the hems of their jeans.  A look that would show off the selvedge in vintage jeans.  With time the selvedge itself became a symbol of quality. A special detail that showed the wearer had real, authentic garments. Something unique and special.  Some forward thinking Japanese manufactures saw this growing trend, as well as the trend for nicer cuts of denim in general, and began producing high quality, selvedge denim.  Flash forward to today and there is an entire sub-industry of premium quality denim, much of it featuring selvedge.

Does a pair of jeans have to be selvedge denim to be high quality? Not at all.  There are lots of high quality denim available.  Jeans that look great, will hold up and generally cost a lot less than selvedge denim.  There is also lower quality denim that is finished with a selvedge edge.  Even though they have this mark of quality, they can be more reminiscent of bargain quality jeans instead of a premium garment that is made to last though years of wear a tear.  What high quality selvedge denim does offer though is a pair of jeans that will fade and pattern in a unique way making a one a of kind, very personal item.  Is it worth the extra price?  That is a personal question and if you are on a budget, probably not.  You can get a some very nice jeans that cost a fraction of what a high-end brand costs.  If you are a clothes aficionado and want something that you know is high quality and special then perhaps its worth taking a dive.  And while I usually do not recommend shorter men roll up the bottom of their pants legs, it only highlights that you are short and generally doesn’t look flattering, this may be one time when you can consider breaking the rules.

Bad Fashion: South Lake Tahoe Ski Edition

Fashion rules on the mountain are a bit different than other places.  Skiers and snowboarders have their own set of rules and they often include looks and styles that wouldn’t be considered appropriate anywhere off the slopes.  Bizarre patterns and loud colors often work wonderfully on the slopes in ways they don’t work on the street.  That said, there are still looks that don’t belong anywhere and in that spirit we bring you today’s bad fashion: South Lake Tahoe edition.

Don't get caught looking like this, anywhere.

Don’t get caught looking like this, anywhere.

Despite an exceptionally lax set of rules on the mountain that allows tremendous freedom for individual expression some people still get it totally wrong.  This poor fellow thought his bad holiday pajamas would make us all smile on the mountain.  Unfortunately he was wrong.  Very, very wrong.  This photo doesn’t begin to capture the tie dye nightmare that was his shirt.  A combination of patterns that is beyond unforgivable.

Hey bro, I'm awesome.

Hey bro, I’m awesome.

Off the mountain casual fashion continues to rule.  Everyone is tired, dirty and just wants to eat and have a beer.  That said there are still some basic standards that should be followed and our friend above didn’t get the memo.  He may think he is fabulous but that brings the number of people who do to just one.  Yes he’s a bro and that means a blissful ignorance of what anyone else in the world thinks except for your fellow bros who are lost in a cloud of self-induced awesomeness but it’s not an excuse.  This shot was caught at a  South Lake casino during Saturday nights MMA matches.  While it may be exceptionally warm for March, sweatpants shorts, a pinkish tank top and sandals  have no business being out of the drawer let alone put together.  This is a sad case of “I’m awesome and want everyone to know it” and as usual, a monumental failure.  Don’t even get started with the hat of irony.  Its anything but a statement piece with the exception of saying please give me attention because my personality doesn’t deserve it on its own.  Its one look to absolutely not follow.

Acid wash gone horribly wrong

Acid wash gone horribly wrong

I apologize for the poor quality of this pic but it’s good enough to introduce a topic that I’m sure we will revisit, again and again.  There was a time when acid wash jeans were the thing.  Nothing spelled cool more than just the right fade and wash on a pair of well-worn jeans.  Acid wash was a signature look of the late 80s and has been on a comeback but like most things, less is more and some brands have just gotten it all wrong.  Today’s sample shows what happens when acid wash goes bad.

Three looks to avoid at all costs.  You’ve been warned.

Want less back pain, better posture and to look great wearing your clothes? Stretch those lats.

Clothes don’t wear you, you wear the clothes.  It’s an old saying but one that holds true.  You can take the nicest garment in the world, fashionable and well-fitting and still make it look bad if you don’t wear it like it truly belongs on you.  Assuming a particular top in question fits properly and is appropriately matched, two main issues dictate whether you end up looking great or like a schlub.

The first is what I refer to as “ownership” of the item.  You have to wear the item as if it was meant specifically for you.  You can take the most current, fashionable piece but if you don’t feel comfortable in it, if you don’t feel like it makes you look good, that you are a master of universe in it then it’s going to look out-of-place on you and be a complete failure.  Not every style works on every person.  Some individuals can wear just about anything and make it look good.  The latest trend.  Crazy prints or patterns. Unusual cuts.  For others it appears as a sad attempt to follow the latest fashion and look like everyone else but ultimately comes across as lame, desperate and out-of-place.  Knowing what you are comfortable in is key and understanding that sometimes less is more is what makes you look like a million bucks.  Classic, simple, understated styles consistently look great and stand the test of time for a reason.  If they are what is suited to you embrace it and look your best.  It doesn’t mean you can’t push the envelope a bit here and there and try new things but knowing what doesn’t work for you is key.

The second element that dictates if something looks great on you is how you carry yourself.  Do you have great posture, stand tall and create a presence that allows your new favorite top to highlight what is noticeable about you?  When you carry yourself well, people will pay attention first to you as a person and secondarily to how your top looks, and that is exactly what you want.  Nothing will make an article of clothing look better than wearing it with presence and you can not have presence if you are slumped over, twisted and sticking out your head.  If you are short this is an even more critical issue.  No article of clothing can fix this problem. You have to do it with hard work and time in the gym.  Strengthening your core and back musculature while stretching tight muscles that have adapted over time to pull you into improper alignment and poor posture.  One of the most common but constantly overlooked problem muscles are the latissimus dorsi.  Better know as your lats.

The lats are large fan-shaped muscles the run from your low back to your shoulder.  In the low back there is a broad attachment that runs from your mid-lower thoracic spine, down through the fascial connections to your lumbar spine and onto your posterior pelvis.  This large attachment means that the lats have a critical function in stabilizing and transmitting forces through your lower back/core.  At the shoulder your lats pass up under your armpit and onto the front/medial side of your upper arm bone, the humerus.  They actually attach right next to your large chest muscle, the pectoralis major.  At the shoulder the lats are utilized in pulling motions.  Because of their attachment site if the lats are shortened or tight they can contribute to rotating your arm inwards and pulling your shoulder into a rolled down and forward position.  The exact opposite of good posture.

The good news is that this is a correctable problem.  All it takes is a little time and attention.  There are multiple ways to stretch and lengthen the lats including foam rolling, massage and good old-fashioned stretching.  Below are three basic stretches that can be done anywhere without any equipment or help.  You don’t even need to change into your exercise wear.  Just stand up and find a door frame or piece of heavy furniture that will not easily move if you gently pull on it.  Each stretch should be held for about one minute.  You can hold them longer if you like but if you do them regularly, one minute will to the trick.

Lat Stretch 1

Lat Stretch 1

Stretch 1: Stand next to a door frame or other heavy object, your feet about one foot behind it.  Soften your knees and with the hand furthest away from your anchor point reach over and grab it at approximately waist level.  Then grab with the closest hand just above the first one.  You can adjust the stretch by reaching lower or higher on the anchor point.  You will feel the stretch along your lats, from your armpit, along your side and down to your lower back.  It is common to feel the stretch primarily in one particularly tight area.  This is entirely normal and as your flexibility increases will change.  You can also adjust the stretch by twisting the hip farthest from the anchor point further away, as if you were trying to stick your back pocket to the wall behind you.

Lat Stretch 2

Lat Stretch 2

Stretch 2: Stand facing a bar, table or other horizontal object that you can either grab hold of or lay your hands flat on top of.  The height can vary from belly button to shoulder level and will depend on how flexible you are.  The more flexible, the lower the anchor point.  Step back, both feet next to each other with soft knees while bending over at the waist.  While keeping your arms straight allow them to lift forward at the shoulder while you bend over so that they are aligned with your head.  Your biceps should be next to or slightly behind your ears.  You should maintain a neutral spine (the same natural curve in your lower back that you have when standing up with good posture).  To increase the stretch on one side, straighten the knee on that side while allowing the opposite knee to bend more.

Lat Stretch 3

Lat Stretch 3

Stretch 3:  This stretch is a variation on the first version and you can choose to do either one.  Stand facing an anchor point, a vertical bar of any sort, a door frame or heavy piece of furniture work well.  Step back with one leg approximately one foot while bending over at the waist and reaching forward with the arm on the same side as the foot you stepped back with.  Grab the anchor point at about knee height.  Try to roll the hip of the back foot away from your hand to increase the stretch.

Try performing two of these three stretches for one minute each, three to six times a week and after a month you should begin to notice some improvement in your shoulder position and posture.

Macklemore performs a public service

Finally the hip hop community is stepping up to provide some serious guidance to the millions of men who follow them.  Seattle’s own Macklemore posted this little ditty yesterday encouraging his fellow men to lift the seat, aim and wipe up after themselves.  Finally someone says what the majority of us are thinking.  Here’s to Macklemore and cleaner toilets everywhere.

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Short is Big: Landon Donovan

Landon Donovan 1

Spring is here and that means the opening of the Major League Soccer (MLS) season.  To celebrate the occasion we bring you 5’8″ tall Landon Donovan.  Widely considered the best player to ever come out of the United States, Landon is a 5 time MLS champion and holds the record for the most international appearances and goals by an American player.

Donavan began his professional career in 1999 with German club Bayer Leverkusen.  In 2001 he was loaned to the San Jose Earthquakes of MLS.  In four years with the Earthquakes Landon led the team to championships in 2001 and 2003 while scoring 32 goals in regular season play and 10 more in the playoffs.  Add to that 29 regular season assists and 6 more playoffs assists it’s no wonder that Landon was named US Soccer Athlete of the year three years in a row.

Landon Donovan 2Landon Donovan 3

In 2005 Donovan began playing for the Los Angeles Galaxy where he has helped them win league championships in 2005, 2011 and 2012.  In 2009 Donovan was named the league’s most valuable player and the Galaxy appeared in the league finals.  In 2010 they made the semifinals before ultimately losing to FC Dallas.

Landon Donovan 4As a member of the USA national team Donovan has appeared in a record-setting 155 games and scored an also record-setting 57 goals.  He is the only American player to reach the 50 goals/50 assists mark in international play.  Having appeared in three World Cups he is expected the lead the US squad again in 2014.

The Essentials: Belts

belts 1Welcome to the first installment of our new series, The Essentials.  It is exactly what it sounds like, a list of the must halves for any adult male’s wardrobe.  It is not meant to include every item that is useful but cover the most basic, mandatory items that you should have in your closet at all times.  For any item on the list there are countless versions, many more fashion forward and stylish.  The Essentials represent the most basic, classic versions that will stand the test of time and will anchor any more current looks or trends that you pursue.  Over time we will cover more stylish versions of essential items and you will no doubt want to include them in your wardrobe but The Essentials will hold up no matter what your age or how trends are changing.

belts 3

For our first edition of The Essentials we are covering an item that is often an afterthought, the belt.  The most utilitarian of items, the belt is usually the last thing that guys worry about but if you need one and don’t have it, it’s the most important item ever.  While a good fitting pair of pants should be able to stay up on its own, when it won’t nothing is more important than your belt.  Now you will find some sites recommending that shorter men skip the belt because of the horizontal line that it creates.  Our thought on that notion?  It’s nonsense.  Unless your pants are made without belt loops feel free to slide on a belt, just be sure its the right one.

Belts are usually broken down into two categories, formal and casual.  Formal belts are meant to be worn with suits, business and office apparel and dressier casual outfits.  The should match your shoes in color and may be on the shinier side.  Buckles should be on the smaller, more understated side and in gold or even better, a silver tone.  Formal belts should also be thinner and the length should allow you to go through the first belt loop after the buckle but not much farther and absolutely lay flat.  Most men will be fine with one quality belt in black and one in brown if they have shoes of a similar tone.

dress belts

Casual belts can be worn with jeans, slacks or even the right pair of shorts if they fit loosely.  Belts can be slightly wider and while you should still have an understated buckle, you may add a small touch of individuality though we strongly recommend you begin with a basic black version and a brown version with simple buckles that will go with the majority of your casual wardrobe.  Again it is best to match your shoes to your belt though you have a little more flexibility.  That said, while taller men can get away making more of a statement with their belts and buckles, shorter men aren’t trying to draw viewers eyes further downward and over-emphasize elements away from their faces.  If you do want to utilize a belt to express your individual style save that for later on after you have built your foundation and added basic black and brown, simple buckle formal and casual belts.  For now, leave the wild colors and flashy buckles to the clowns and rodeo champs.

belts 4


belts 2

A fashion don’t. Leave the Short-Suit on the red carpet.

Pharrell Williams In A Short Tuxedo Suit - The Oscars 2014

It’s warm in California.  Shorts weather warm.  Out here we love these warm early March days when you can leave the fleece at home and roll down the car windows.    In fact it may be a little to warm and dry.  While we are short on rain, we aren’t low on bad fashion styles.  This weeks comes to us courtesy of Pharrell Williams at last weekends’ Academy Awards.  Pharrell tried to parlay his growing celebrity status into establishing credibility for a fringe fashion look.  And no matter how much listening to “Happy” makes me happy, nothing is going to make the shorts-suit look acceptable.

Recently at, Matt Allinson wrote a nice post in defense of the short-suit,  Allinson writes

One path is encouraging us to emulate the 1950s and develop a timeless personal style that will transcend the next fifty years. The other desperately wants to find new ways to stand out from the ever-growing crowd of stylish gentlemen. And the short suit does just that.

He hits the nail on the head regarding the challenge between having a classic, lasting personal style that never falls out of style and the desire to stand out and express your individuality.  However in our humble opinion, he over-reaches in describing the short-suit as classic with a twist.

For the shorter man, the shorts-suit is an exceptionally bad choice.  Consider it a fast track to looking like you are dressed as an English school boy.  Unless your name is Angus Young and you can rock there is just no reason to attempt this style don’t.

Are there any exceptions?  Of course.  If you are in Bermuda feel free to adopt the local style, so long as you leave it on the island when you depart.  Perhaps if you are an early 20s Bro with a an over-active sense of self-worth and lack of awareness you could attempt the look but be warned, it will fail and only your obliviousness to anyone but yourself will protect your fragile ego.

So be warned.  No matter what celebrity style you wish to emulate, this is one look to leave on the red carpet.

Short is Big: Jet Li

The academy awards just passed and in the spirit of recognizing actors we love, today ShorteesStyle is going to recognize a fellow short guy who the academy will probably never notice, Jet Li.  Standing  5’5.5″, Jet Li is a master of multiple styles of wushu, a skill he parlayed into international box office fame.  He is most well-known in the USA for his film roles in Lethal Weapon 4, Romeo Must Die, The One, Kiss of the Dragon, Hero, Cradle 2 The Grave, Unleashed, Fearless, War, The Forbidden Kingdom, The Mummy 2, and most recently The Expendables series.  In additional to his martial arts and acting, Li is an active philanthropist well-known for his association with The Red Cross.

So this awards season take a moment to recognize one of our favorite ass-kicking fellow shortees, Jet Li.

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