Lauren Mayer: Everything Old Is New Again

The 1960s are retro cool these days, thanks to hit shows like Mad Men and Masters of Sex (not to mention all the Austin Powers movies).  And while we admire the cool fashions (skinny ties! pillbox hats!), it’s all too convenient to dismiss the less-admirable aspects of the era (segregation, no effective birth control not to mention how women were treated in general, childhood diseases like polio & measles).   But many of those phenomena are returning along with the fashions – setbacks in voting rights, civil rights, and reproductive rights, not to mention the anti-vaccine movement which is causing a return of diseases we thought were eradicated.

Well, now it’s time for another blast from the past – those of us are old enough to remember some of that era also remember the Cold War, when every spy movie used Russian villains and schools had ‘Duck & Cover’ drills (yes, we really did think hiding under our desks would protect us from the threat of Soviet nuclear weapons. Hey, I was only in 2nd grade, what did I know?, but I digress . . . )

After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall, Russians were our sort-of-friends, not quite allies but no longer cool to use as movie adversaries.  (And yes, we also learned that Duck & Cover was not the best strategy for avoiding nuclear fallout.)  But lately, thanks to Vladimir Putin’s aggression, Russia is now a sort-of bad guy – not quite an arch-enemy but probably likely to turn up in a James Bond movie one of these days.  And in the meantime, here’s a musical take on his unpredictability.

Erica and Matt Chua: He Said/She Said: Japanese Fashion

When you hear “Japanese fashion”, what do you think?  Middle-age men wearing Disney World hats, Las Vegas t-shirts and enormous cameras?  Or do you think the Harajuku women, dressed up like dolls, anime characters, and the occasional horse head?  Are their fashion choices representing craziness or self-expression in a repressive society?  Read our takes then have your say in the comments below.

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HE SAID…

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Fashion in Japan is interesting.  “Interesting” used in a Minnesota-nice sort of way, as in, “it’s not my thing, I’m not sure about it, actually it makes me a little uncomfortable, but I can’t say that because…well I’m a Minnesotan.”  I’ve been told that in other parts of the country people would say something like, “God bless their heart, I wouldn’t be caught dead in that!”  I think many of the fashions are absolutely crazy, the pedophile soliciting schoolgirl outfits, the dancing Elvises, the anime characters!?!  I don’t get it.

I don’t understand why people want to walk down the street and have people gawking at them.  I don’t get why people want to become a tourist attraction.  I really can’t comprehend why some of them get annoyed that tourists take photos of them, after all, they are the ones drawing the attention to themselves with their choices of clothing.  More over, how long does it take these people to get all done up like this?  Caking on the layers of makeup, doing up their hair, buying all the clothes, putting themselves together the way you would a Barbie Doll.  The time, effort, cost and ogling makes the whole production seem unrewarding.

Are those shoes comfortable?  Whatever you used to make your face look like that…is it toxic?  What if it doesn’t go back to “normal”?  Do you even care?  What do you want to be?  What feeling does it give you to do yourself up like this?  Why, why, why?  Maybe I have too many question, maybe I’m too cerebral for fashion, maybe it’s me that’s crazy, not them, but I’m pretty certain it’s them.

There is one thing I do like in Japanese and in broader Asian fashion: super short mini skirts.  If wacky english worded slogans on shirts, strange makeup combinations, or odd styles are what we have to accept to get super short shorts on a daily basis then I could be converted…

Read the rest of…
Erica and Matt Chua: He Said/She Said: Japanese Fashion

Julie Rath: Look Taller With These 11 Tips

Do you ever wish you looked a little taller? Many of my clients, even if they are above average height, list this as an image goal. At 5′ 1″ myself, I appreciate the sentiment. Luckily for us vertically-challenged folks, we can use clothing as smoke and mirrors to achieve (or at least get closer to) the look we want. Below are 11 tips on how to dress so you look taller:

Patterns and Color
1) Wear the same color (or at least similar tones of color) on top as you do on bottom. That way, you avoid the horizontal line of a color break across your middle, which would cut you in half otherwise.
2) Similarly, you should avoid wearing a belt that contrasts strongly with the rest of your outfit, as it will abbreviate you.
3) Wear socks in the same color as your pants. It makes your legs look longer.

Men's Style Tips: Repp Stripe Tie4) Everyone knows to wear vertical stripes, but did you also know that diagonal lines create illusion of length? In addition to vertically striped pants, suits, jackets, and socks, try a repp (diagonal stripe) tie.

Lines of Clothes

Men's Style Tips: Layering with a hoodie5) Dressing in layers allows you to add lots of elongating verticals. Think a hoodie or sweater with a zip or a cardigan left open (try under a sport jacket or a casual jacket).
6) Wear a pocket square. It draws the eye up to your chest favorably.

Sportcoats or Suit Jacket Details 
7) Opt for peak lapels, as the detail and upward-pointing angles guide the viewer’s eye in an upward direction, making you look taller.
8) As in #1, the diagonal lines of a suit jacket or sportcoat’s lapels will extend your height. Choose one with a “low button stance,” which means it buttons lower on your body, extending those diagonal lines.
9) The gorge on your jacket is where the collar meets the lapel. If you’re buying custom, tell them you want a “high gorge,” which will have the same upward-orienting effect as in #7.

Men's Style Tips: Jacket Length10) Buy your jacket on the short side (or have it tailored that way) so that it just covers the curve of your seat. This makes your legs look longer.
11) When you have your jacket sleeves tailored, ask for at least 1/4″ of shirt cuff to show. If not enough or no cuff shows, it can make your arms (and the rest of you by proxy) look short.

Is there anything about your appearance you’d like to balance or camouflauge? Let me know in the comments below, and I’ll tackle it in an upcoming post.

Julie Rath: Gifts for Your Dad

It’s never too late to pick up a gift for your pops (or to make pointed suggestions to your loved ones). From token to total splurge, below are 6 Rath-approved gifts for you to choose from.

Father's Day Gifts 2014: Black and Tan UtensilBlack and Tan Beer Utensil $10 – There’s nothing like a good black and tan, and with this, your dad doesn’t need bartender skills to make one.

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Father's Day Gifts 2014: Leather Key FobLeather Key Fob $35 – A nice key chain is a small pleasure he might not actually purchase for himself. I love the rugged leather combined with brass hardware.

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Father's Day Gifts 2014: Luxury Toys V 2Luxury Toys Volume 2 $41 – He can dream big as he flips through this gorgeous coffee table book reading about underwater motorcycles and personal spaceships.

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Father's Day Gifts 2014: Garmin Approach WatchGarmin Approach S1 GPS Watch $140 – Pro or no, if your dad’s a golfer, he’ll love this watch, which will allow him to measure individual shot distances and track how far he walks on the course.

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Father's Day Gifts 2014: Hartmann Garment BagHartmann Garment Bag $445 – With travel, it’s key to keep your clothes neat so you don’t create extra work for yourself (or the hotel laundry) when you arrive at your destination. A bag like this is a frequent traveler’s best friend, as it keeps your hanging clothes in tact, and has pockets for shoes and toiletrees. It also fits nicely in an overhead airplane compartment.

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Father's Day Gifts 2014: Vintage Hermes Crocodile ClockHermes Croc Clock (call for price) – For the Dad who has everything: an Art Deco crocodile clock by Paul Dupré-Lafon for Hermès, circa 1930.

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And for the new dad, here are my tips on keeping stylish while keeping your cool.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Facebook Diet Update

 

10422129_10154374013165515_2145931767846929601_n10338713_10154374013220515_5125868687903418794_nSo, I got a haircut.

And I lost 23 lbs.

(Jan 2nd 2014 vs July 2nd 2014)

I’m calling it the “Facebook Diet” because a key motivator is regular Facebook updates on my progress.

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Out with the old –and too big.


21 months ago I bought a pair of jeans that are 34w as an incentive to fit into them 2 months later. 

21 months –and 21 lbs– later I fit into them. Not what I would call “a comfortable fit” but I am wearing them anyway.

And got rid of all my 38w pants today along with a few other (now) oversized clothes.

jyb_musingsOff to Evolve consignment store and Goodwill.

And 19 months late is still better than never. Or even 20 months later.

Julie Rath: Your Summer Hit List

Men's Image Consultant: Summer Wardrobe

Is your summer wardrobe in need of a refresh? At key points throughout the year, my Rath & Co. clients and I reassess their wardrobes for the upcoming season. We look at what works and what doesn’t, and what they didn’t have enough of last year. If you haven’t gone through this exercise for summer, before you go into full beach mode, carve out time to go through all of your summer clothes so that you can create a clear list of what’s missing. Below is my hit list of 10 summer must-haves to help guide you, plus a couple of grooming bonuses:

1) Lightweight t-shirts: a mix of henleys, crew and v-necks

2) Sweatshirt or long-sleeve shirt for post-beach

3) Summer footwear: sandals, flip-flops, or what I call social sneaks (aka nice sneakers you wouldn’t work out in)

4) Sunglasses

5) Swimsuits: here’s a guide on how to choose the best style for you.

6) Lightweight and light color dress shirts, pants, sportcoats, and suits (the latter two depend on your social calendar and how frequently you dress up for work).

7) Shorts

8) Strong deodorant with anti-perspirant

9) Minty soap: for more on soaps and other grooming products that will keep you cool, check out my post on Heat-Wave Style.

10) Sun protection: I’m fair-skinned and super-picky about what type I use — VMV Hypoallergenics Armada Face Cover is what works best for me. Also check out Bioastin Astaxanthin, which is an antioxidant that’s said to help protect skin against the sun.

What’s on your hit list for summer?

Julie Rath: Rehearsal Dinner Options for Grooms

n our search for dashing rehearsal dinner options for grooms, Brian Leahy (founder of The Groom Says blog) and I start the day at Kmart and end up at Michael Andrews Bespoke. Part I of the interview (at Kmart) can be read on Brian’s blog here, and Part II (at MAB) here.

Kmart Men's Rehearsal Dinner Options

Michael Andrews Bespoke Groom Rehearsal Dinner Look

Michael Andrews Bespoke Groom Rehearsal Dinner Look

Special thanks to our gorgeous models, Alex and Adam, and to Michael Andrews Bespoke.

Images courtesy of Joanna Wilson Photography.

Julie Rath: Reader Question – Versatile Briefcase

Question: Hey Rath & Co! I see that you have some fun backpack recommendations…how about a nice, professional, hip, not-too-expensive briefcase? Big enough to carry a laptop, cute enough for after-work drinks and nice enough for an interview. Thoughts? -Arielle (on behalf of boyfriend)

Answer: Hey Arielle (+ boyfriend),

Here are three briefcase-type bags that I love and that fit your criteria. Note that you don’t want to go too inexpensive with something like this because you’ll be carrying your laptop in it. So it needs to be sturdy and well-constructed.

Each suggestion below has a slightly different vibe:

Jack Spade Men's Briefcase

J. Crew-Billykirk Men's Satchel

Doucal's Men's Briefcase

Cheers, and let me know how you do!

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Homophobia

jyb_musingsC’mon people. Enough already with these outdated homophobic attitudes.

If one man compliments another man on his physical appearance (e.g. “You look really trim. Have you lost weight?” or “That suit looks fabulous on you and really makes your eyes pop”), it doesn’t mean he is gay. 

It simply means that if he were gay, he would probably be really into the guy he is complementing.

John Y. Brown, III: Fashionista

10349093_10203569767500792_4199352038085169907_n

 

 

Rebecca and I were honored to be participating last night in the Kosair Charities Fashion Show.

Great cause.

Great people.

Great fun.

 

Some highlights:

Two things about me: 1) I have never modeled before. 2) Love the movie Little Miss Sunshine. So when the pressure was on to "work it," well.....let's just say I remembered the grand finale scene from Little Miss Sunshine and knew exactly what to do

Two things about me:
1) I have never modeled before.
2) Love the movie Little Miss Sunshine.
So when the pressure was on to “work it,” well…..let’s just say I remembered the grand finale scene from Little Miss Sunshine and knew exactly what to do

And, yes, as you can see at this moment I was really feeling it and went for the "Double finger gun" model move.

And, yes, as you can see at this moment I was really feeling it and went for the “Double finger gun” model move.

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