ShorteesStyle

fashion, lifestyle, dating and humor for the average guy

Archive for the category “Style”

What color shoes go with what color pants?

It’s a well-known fact that something in the Y chromosome makes it more difficult for men to properly match colors.  Yes you have mastered wearing black dress shoes with your only suit but with today’s growing selection of different colored pants not only are you looking more like your wife/girlfriend, you have to actually think about what color shoes to wear.

Thanks to Justin Jeffers, The Fine Young Gentleman you no longer have to think.  Just look at this handy spreadsheet published in Business Insider and walk out of the house with confidence that you won’t embarrass yourself.

Shoe Pant Guide, The Fine Young Gentleman

Shoe Pant Guide, The Fine Young Gentleman

Find the original at: http://www.businessinsider.com/what-color-shoes-to-wear-with-pants-2013-11

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The second-hand sneaker trade. Major profits in collectible Nikes.

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Sticking with our recent topic of sneakers, we recently read a fascinating article by Lisa Chow in fivethirtyeight.com about the second-hand sneaker market.  We all knew there were sneaker collectors.  Those fanatics willing to stand in line on a Saturday morning to pick up the latest pair of Jordans or Lebrons but who knew they could be resold for thousands of dollars.

While the majority of individuals are buying for their own collections, some entrepreneurial spirits are collecting on Nike’s strategy of offering limited edition and supply sneakers.  With a secondary market estimated to be approximately $230 million, it’s not chump change.

While we love living in a pair of comfortable sneakers, second only to a great pair of flip-flops, you do need to know when to leave them in the closet for a pair of casual shoes but if the occasion calls for it maybe your next pair of kicks will be something with a small Jordan figure leaping across the back.

Shirod Ince sat at the front of a line of more than 100 people, mostly guys in their early 20s, on a Friday evening last month. For two days, he and his friends had been taking turns waiting outside a Foot Locker in Harlem to buy the new LeBron sneaker. Through the long, restless hours, they had sustained themselves on Popeye’s, McDonald’s and a belief that it would all pay off in the end.

Ince had no plans to wear the new Nikes. No, for the past two years, the 22-year-old basketball coach has been reselling the sneakers he waits for. And he thought he could double, triple, possibly even quadruple his money for this particular pair, getting anywhere between $500 and $900 for a sneaker that was selling for $250 retail.

Read the entire article here:  http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/you-see-sneakers-these-guys-see-hundreds-of-millions-in-resale-profit/

Eytys. Hitting the mark or better left in the past?

eytys-mother-canvas-bottle-green-43

I recently discovered the Swedish sneaker brand Eytys (pronounced like the decade, 80’s).  I was attracted to the minimalist, utilitarian aspect of the initial product, “Mother”.  A basic, single color sneaker with a fat white sole.  Basic, straight forward and understated simplicity.  Built to be comfortable and versatile.  Plus they come from a small privately owned company and we always like people who take the dive to make their dream products.

The Mother is made in canvas, suede and leather, priced from $150 to $230.  Eytys also produces a high top for $300.  All a little on the pricey side.  Especially for something so straight forward but in a world where most quality training sneakers cost $750-$150 its not insane.

 In a little over a year, Jonathan Hirschfeld and Max Schiller have managed to turn their fledgling Swedish sneaker brand, Eytys (pronounced ’80s’ and spelled with Ys in reference to Generation Y), into a growing cult sensation set to generate €2 million (about $2.5 million) in revenue in 2014. This is surprising, considering that, until very recently, Eytys made only one product: a unisex platform sneaker with a significantly thick rubber and cork sole and a minimal upper that looks like a ubiquitous deck shoe. This model, the “Mother,” gleans its maternal name from its “mothership” status as the label’s first foray into footwear.

To read the entire article from The Business of Fashion: http://www.businessoffashion.com/2014/10/inside-eytys-explosion.html

Has anyone tried them?  Let us know what you think.

Life for a NBA rookie: Welcome to The Big Leagues

<strong>A LEG UP</strong> Spencer Dinwiddie of the Detroit Pistons during a down moment before the N.B.A.'s rookie photo shoot.

  Photo by Eric White
  Quotes by Sarah Lyall in Tmagazine blogs from the New York Times

A killer three-pointer no longer cuts it in the world of pro basketball. To succeed as a multimillion-dollar brand, an athlete needs business savvy, fashion know-how and good table manners. Welcome to the N.B.A.’s other training camp.

They had heard a succession of horrifying tales about drug addiction, alcohol abuse and women of ill repute who hang around hotel lobbies in unfamiliar cities. They had been told how to seize control of their new fortunes, how to distinguish genuine friends from opportunistic hangers-on and how to nimbly sidestep tricky questions in interviews. And now, as part of a program to help them prepare for the most seismic transformation of their lives, members of the National Basketball Association’s rookie class of 2014 were assembled in a conference room in a hotel in Florham Park, N.J., being lectured on a crucial part of their new job: personal style.

It’s hard to be a newly minted multi-millionaire newly drafted into the NBA.  Fame, fortune, women and of course lots and lots of stylish new clothes and accompanying bling.  Once we are done feeling bad for these unfortunate young men we can appreciate the attempt the league is making at helping them avoid some of the pitfalls of those who have come before them.  Granted that will deny us the pleasure of reading about another wealthy, famous person crashing back to reality with the rest of us but really it is a good thing.  The reality is sports stars are role models and aspirational figures for today’s boys and young men.  If our sports stars learn to surround themselves with positive influences, save and invest their money wisely and represent themselves as positive figures who deserve to be emulated then perhaps everyone wins.

One of the interesting topics that this crop of rookies is taught is how to develop a personal style.  One that projects the image that the league and all those eager prospective sponsors want to be associated with.  The advice is appropriate not just for budding NBA stars but for anyone who wants to control the image they project along with spending their wardrobe budget wisely.  According to celebrity stylist Rachel Johnson who lectured at this years meeting:

Every gentleman should have a peacoat, a raincoat, a varsity jacket and an overcoat, she said; also a blue suit, a gray suit and a black suit. Cargo pants are versatile and can be dressed up to look fancier than they are. You can mix and match; the navy jacket will look just fine with the black pants. Do not use the same Irish Spring soap on your face that you use under your arms. When you leave the house, throw on a classic watch and your signature fragrance, and assume that you are being observed at all times.

Some sound advice.  You don’t need a closet full of custom suits and enough pants and shirts to risk breaking the clothes rack along with your bank account.  The right combination of key pieces goes a long way to looking like you were just drafted into the big leagues.

Read the rest of the article at:

http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/09/11/nba-rookie-camp-celtics-bulls-76ers/?smid=pl-share

Inexpensive suits that fit like an expensive custom suit. Is it possible?

It’s nice to see that some attention is finally being paid to developing nice suits that don’t cost more then the average guy earns in a month.  For your typical starting fresh out of school investment banker this may be an entry level suit but for the average guy this is probably the most expensive suit he will ever own.  Most men find their one and only suit at a local large department store or perhaps one of a small handful of national specialized chains.  A few hundred dollars and you can manage the average wedding, funeral or job interview.  The problem is most of these suits are to big, baggy and unflattering.  Take a closer look around at the next wedding you are invited to.  Yes the men can “get by” but if you really start evaluating the fit and cut of their suits your perspective will never be the same.

From the September 23, 2014 Wall Street Journal online:

The starter suit is not what it used to be. A generation ago, a man without a great deal of means—whether he was embarking on his first job or attending his first wedding—had to settle for boxy cuts in rayon and wool-blends from departments stores. But beginning a decade ago and ramping up over the past five years, there has been a veritable revolution in men’s suiting priced under $1,000. Brands like J. Crew, Club Monaco and Suitsupply have invested in fine Italian wools, slimmer cuts and refined construction to produce moderately priced suits that offer men something similar to, and occasionally indistinguishable from, their upscale counterparts.

Read the rest of the article  here:  http://online.wsj.com/articles/the-reinvention-of-the-entry-level-suit-1411153710

Have any of our fellow short men tried any of these yet?  If so let us know your opinion on how well they work for today’s shorter man or are we out of luck once again.

Why Fashion Matters to Men

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The overwhelming majority of men, despite the fact that we get dressed (most days),  just don’t care about fashion.  The question is, should we care?

And the answer is YES.

While what you wear shouldn’t matter to the extent that you will forgo saving money to buy the latest, trendiest thing or chase a particular brand despite the absurd price premium that it commands, there are many valid reasons why fashion is relevant to today’s average guy.  Lets start with the most basic and important reason.  What you wear serves as a form of communication to others about who you are.  Yes, we should all be judged based on the value of who we are as people, how we treat others, the quality of our work but the reality is others do make very personal judgments about us based on how we present ourselves.

How would you feel about your neurosurgeon if he walked into the room wearing a pair of tight, short, cut off denim jeans, cowboy boots and a sleeveless Hank Williams Jr. tee shirt with fringe cut into the bottom?  Would you trust him to cut into your brain?  Doubtful, though he may be the most skilled surgeon on the planet.  What if the only difference between two surgeons was that one walked in the room wearing a nicely pressed pair of pants, a wrinkle free fitted dress shirt, a properly tied tie along with matching belt and shoes and the second surgeon walked in with a wrinkly loose dress shirt, an off kilter tie, pants that are to baggy and loose and older scuffed shoes that don’t match his belt?  If you had to make an instant decision about which physician is going to take a scalpel to you I’m wiling to bet that 95 out of a hundred people will choose the first surgeon based on nothing more then how he is dressed.

What we wear communicates to others who we are.  It impacts how we want to be perceived.  In a professional setting it conveys education, training, knowledge and trust.  Someone who pays attention to detail in how they dress is likely to also pay attention to detail in how they perform their job and live their life.  Now in reality does the detailed dresser always pay more attention to the quality of their work or are they just more caught up in how they look?  Often style has no bearing on substance but it does communicate the impression of substance and frequently that is all that matters.  We all know individuals of questionable or limited competence who excel in the workplace not because of what they know but because of the impression that they convey.stripes

Does this mean you have to adopt the costumes that you see in magazines and on TV? Absolutely not but it does mean you have to give some thought to what you put on and some effort in making sure your wardrobe is current and fit wells.  If your closet is filled with pleated pants its time to donate them to Goodwill and buy a few new flat front pairs.  If your idea of  a nice tee shirt says Affliction or Ed Hardy its time to get out the blow torch and find something that wasn’t featured on MTV’s Jersey Shore.  If your idea of  a dressier going out shirt is a vertically striped, untucked button up shirt you are either a tool or still trying to wear what is trendy and cool but three years behind the times.  Whether on a date, hanging out with friends or at the work place, what you wear says a lot about who you are and what others should think of you.

For the shorter man fashion will never make you taller or change the perceptions that others may falsely hold about shorter men but it will allow you to present the best version of yourself that you would like others to see.  You can’t control what others think but you can control the message that you send out to the world.  You can show that you care about yourself.  You can utilize fashion to set the stage, preempting preconceived notions that others may have allowing you to dictate the course of your interactions with them.

Fashion communicates much more.  Fashion is often used to communicate social and economic status.  It creates a barrier between the haves and have-nots.  Upscale brands allow high status seekers to communicate to each other that they are of the same class.  Ostentatious displays of upscale brands communicate status and often insecurity about that status so the wearer makes sure that everyone knows they are worthy because they are walking billboards for Gucci, Prada, Channel or whatever the it brand of the moment is.  Is class differentiation via fashion a good thing, not really but it is a reality and one you should learn to utilize judiciously to your advantage.

Fashion has other positive features.  It can serve as a powerful form of self expression.  You can have some fun with your clothes and utilize them to draw attention to yourself in a positive way, to express your culture, beliefs or lifestyle or simply to feel good about yourself and in the end, that display of self confidence is the best thing you can ever wear.  Brands certainly take advantage of our desire to utilize fashion as a form or self expression.  Do you want to communicate to the world that you take healthy living and your fitness seriously then you’re likely to spend half your time walking around in Nike, Under Armor or Adidas.  And if you walk around in Lululemon instead it clearly sends a different message.  Are your jeans Levi or $250 selvedge denim from a small manufacturer.  In the end don’t let your choice in brands define you but feel comfortable utilizing fashion for fun and to bring out a little of your individuality.

Fashion designer Marc Jacobs gets credit for our next item.  Fashion is a luxury and as Jacobs points out, it is human nature to want and enjoy luxuries.  Be it because we enjoy the luxury or we enjoy that others are attracted to our luxury, either way there is nothing wrong with wanting and enjoying something on the nicer side of life.  Yes thrift and humility and living simply are positive virtues but it is quite alright to also embrace a touch of luxury.

And last but not least fashion is an economic powerhouse that keeps countless people employed.  While there are a handful of individuals who are getting rich from fashion (I’m not one of them) the majority of designers, pattern makers, garment workers, retail sales people, shippers and textile designers earn modest, if even that, livings from jobs directly related to the fashion industry.  Then their is the multiplying effect of all the other industries that touch the world of fashion from bankers, lawyers, accountants, technology professionals, web designers, advertising firms right down to they guy who takes the trash out at the mall where your favorite store is located.  Fashion is part of the economy and its impact is most certainly a positive thing.  That doesn’t mean you should blow through your paycheck buying new clothes and claim you were doing it for the good of others but you certainly don’t have to feel bad about updating your wardrobe a bit.

Do I still find most of the world of fashion utterly ridiculous.  You bet I do.  It is often absolutely absurd.  Women’s fashion ten times more so then men’s, and lets be thankful for that.  Despite the often laughable nature of what is considered fashion it doesn’t change the fact that fashion does matter and it is worth a small moment of your time.

Flocking, differentiation and generic fashion. Uniqlo’s CMO Jörgen Andersson gets it.

Inside Uniqlo - SOHO NYC

Inside Uniqlo – SOHO NYC

An interview with new Uniqlo CMO Jörgen Andersson in today’s Business of Fashion begins with a reference to a legal paper, “The Law, Culture and Economics of Fashion”.  In that paper, authors Scott Hemphill and Jeannie Suk address the concept in the world of fashion of differentiation and flocking.  Individuals want to express their individuality.  They want to present a style that is unique to themselves, a personal brand.  At the same time they want to belong to a group.  Be identified as a certain type of person and fit in with others that they want to be associated with.

Why flock?  We have an innate desire to fit in.  To be part of the group.  To be accepted.  For some it is a social status issue.  Certainly high-end brands communicate wealth and exclusivity.  Street brands communicate coolness and rebellion against any perceived existing establishment.  Athletic brands exude lifestyle choices.  There are countless boxes which can be used to describe the general groups, movements and communities which people want to flock to.  For some just being an accepted part of the group is the end goal.  Others wish to disappear within the group.  For many, within the context of a particular style and sub-culture there is a desire to still express an element of individuality.  Working from a foundation of a general style, individuals can then express their own uniqueness via a personal style that allows them to be part of a trend but not an exact replica of everyone else within the trend.

Billions of dollars are spent every year promoting these concepts of flocking and differentiation.  We call it branding and trend building.  Thousands of students take marketing classes on how to brand and hundreds of agencies promote themselves as experts in how to achieve this.  We hold up billion dollar brands from Nike to Lululemon to J.Crew to Gucci and more as examples of both how we want to be perceived as well as how a brand should impact society and consumers.

When I entered the apparel industry as a total neophyte I was armed with a transcript full of business classes on marketing and branding.  I thought my secret was going to be that I solved a unique problem that cut across the various subcultures.  Years later I still think that is the case but have to admit that I held, still do hold, certain brands in my head as examples of how I would like the business to one day appear to the public.  It’s part of the reason why this topic always resonates with me.  Fit issues always prevented me from embracing any brand and style that I wanted flock to.  It made me think about these same issues and for a period of time, feel like I was the only one expressing the struggle between the individuals desire to fit in and look like everyone else while also expressing individuality.  Of course now I know that there was nothing unique about that insight and I was just one of many who noted the issue.  While I can not say that my closet contains a single item from Uniqlo it does make me enjoy the refreshing honesty of their CMO, Andersson.

To read the full interview with Andersson follow this link: http://www.businessoffashion.com/2014/04/uniqlo-cmo-jorgen-andersson-consumer-culture-generic.html

 

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.

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.

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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

 

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