In today’s edition of That’s What She Said, I interview recording artist Ms. Williams on men’s style.
Click here or on the image below to watch our interview. You’ll hear her take on the matter, including the ONE accessory that makes her run the other way when a guy wears it.
After you’re done watching the interview, make sure you take my style quiz to see how you rate on a scale of 1 to 10.
I interviewed some of my most successful, smart, and gorgeous girlfriends to find out how important it really is to them for a guy to pay attention to his image and style, and I thought you might be interested in watching what they had to say. The first of these three interviews is with Sara Davidson, business strategist and marketing maven.
Click here or on the image below to watch our interview. You’ll hear what turns her on and off, and the one thing a guy did that completely changed the way she looked at him (and as a result she couldn’t keep her hands off of him).
After you’re done watching the interview, make sure you take my style quiz to see how you rate on a scale of 1 to 10.
One thing about Fall that gets me more excited than I probably should is BOOTS. Boots pretty much rock my world, and I’m thrilled that it’s time to start looking at what’s in stores this Fall.
Here’s why boots are so awesome:
1) Boots are a great way to distinguish your work clothes from your “going out” clothes.
2) [this one’s sneaky] Since boots often have thicker soles than regular shoes, they can give you a little help in the height department.
3) There are loads of different boot styles that allow you to create your own unique look (we’ll go over a few below), and designers are always coming up with hip new details.
4) Because boots are not as ubiquitous as, say, regular dress shoes, wearing stylish boots will set you apart as someone who is “in the know” about style.
And here are 3 great boot picks for this Fall in various price ranges:
Up to $250
Topman - $100 Don’t let the buckle scare you. It’s a subtle touch that will only be visible when you’re sitting down.
Rag & Bone – $450 – The roughed-up suede makes them gritty and masculine, but the half captoe maintains the polish.
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Julie Rath: If You Try One New Thing this Fall…
I always say a groom should look dashing at his wedding, and choosing the right accessories is key to the result. In selecting neckwear for your nuptials, remember that you’re not choosing a power tie or a work tie — you’re choosing a wedding tie, and it should be celebratory. After all, that’s what the whole day is about. So give yourself permission to think outside the box and go with something you might not normally wear. You’ll still look like you, only a cool and sharp groom version of you. Below are several different categories of ties that are just right for those that are altar-bound.
Solids: Wearing a solid tie is a nice way to let your bride, no doubt gorgeous in her wedding dress, take center stage. I recommend using a shade from the wedding color scheme and/or the bridesmaid dresses. I like the three below (left to right): from Drake’s London (£95), Turnbull & Asser ($175), and to go with a more casual look — perhaps a khaki suit — this linen tie from Faconnable ($115). All three are available in a range of colors for easy coordination.
If a solid doesn’t have enough flavor, but you still want to keep it simple, try one that’s tone-on-tone like those below from Jil Sander ($165; also comes in tan) and Brioni ($195).
Another easy principle to follow is matching metals to metals. So if your bride’s jewelry and your belt buckle, watch, cuff links, etc. are silver-toned, you might incorporate a corresponding metallic shade into your tie. This rule works particularly well if your metals are silver and you happen to have cool skin tone, or if your metals are gold, and your skin tone is warm. For silvers, I like this diamond-patterned tie from Sam Hober ($80) and this silk stripe from Giorgio Armani ($145). Keep in mind that the Sam Hober is on the dressy side because the pattern is small.
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Julie Rath: Groom Alert
We all know the story of the local cobbler who was so busy making shoes for his customers that he didn’t have time to make shoes for his family. I have led and participated in hundreds of organizational visioning sessions but in 1998 it was clear to me that my own family needed a shared vision for the future. I was determined and proclaimed that we would spend New Year’s Eve 1998 together as a family working on our family vision. Under duress my wife and three children amused me and participated. My wife found the actual document I used to facilitate our visioning session in a file. I hadn’t seen it in ten years and the question remains relevant today. Does your family have a shared vision?
Here is the document I used to get us talking as a family ten years ago. Maybe the questions will enable a similar conversation with your family.
Kaplan Family Visioning 12/31/1998
Imagine it is the year 2008. The world survived the dreaded year 2-K disaster and the Kaplan family is thriving in the new millennium. It is hard to imagine that ten years have passed since that silly New Year’s Eve in 1998 when our dad made us stay at home together and develop a family vision. He said it was a mental picture or image of the kind of family we wanted to be. And like any vision it wouldn’t happen by accident but because everyone in our family wanted to achieve it and worked hard to make it happen. Well, ten years have passed. Let’s see how we did in living up to the family vision we created that New Year’s Eve right after dad won the family monopoly game!
Before we can discuss the kind of family we have become in the year 2008 we should start by discussing the kind of individuals we have become. I can’t believe how far we came as individuals. It will help us with our family vision to understand what each of us will be doing in the year 2008. Once we have a picture of ourselves as individuals we can take a look at how we relate together as a family.
How old are you in 2008? Where do you live? What kind of home do you live in?
Are you still in school? What grade (high school, college, graduate school)? Where? What do/did you study? What kind of grades do/did you get?
Are you working now? What do you do? What are you planning to do after you graduate?
Describe your personal relationships (boyfriend/ girlfriend)? Husband/wife? Kids! How about friends? Do you have a lot of friends?
What role does music play in your life? Do you play any instruments? How often do you play?
How much traveling have you done? What parts of the world have you seen? What parts do you plan to see?
How much do you read? What do you like to read? Do you read a newspaper every day? (Maybe there won’t be newspapers ten years from now!)
How much do you write? Does your job require you to write? Do you write on your own? What do you like to write about? (your mother has been encouraging me to write more…blame her….she has a habit of encouraging all of us to be better…doesn’t she…I think one of her best traits)
What hobbies/sports are you active in? How active are you? Do you exercise? Maybe we should know how much you weigh! Are you a sports fan? What sports? Have the Red Sox made it to the World Series in the last ten years? Perhaps you live somewhere else and have become a traitor and don’t root for the Red Sox any more!
What are the most important things in your life in 2008?
Now that we can picture what each of us is up to in 2008 and can admire our personal successes we can start to discuss what kind of family we have become.
OK so the Kaplan clan is alive and well in the year 2008. Who would’ve doubted that each of us would have an exciting and positive view of the future? It’s one of the great things about our family….the fact that as individuals we are all smart, funny, ambitious and have a ton of optimism about the future. And of course it is the humor we share with each other which makes for an “interesting” combination with our competitive spirits. I don’t know about you but I am extraordinarily proud and impressed with the individual integrity, talent, and personal motivation that we all possess.
But…(you had to know that there was a but somewhere!) …I am not as clear on what we will be like as a family. What will we be like collectively? That might seem like a corny question to ask and I know you are laughing at me for doing this. I truly believe that what our family is going to be like ten years from now will have a lot to do with the importance we place on being a family and how we treat each other NOW.
Having a vision doesn’t mean you can predict the future. Nobody can do that. It simply means that you have a view of what you would like the future to be like. Once you have a clear vision you can steer yourself toward it. It helps you know every day/month/year if you are doing the things and acting in a way that points in the direction of the vision.
Anyway, here are a few questions to get us thinking about our family vision:
How often do we see each other as a family? Are we together for the holidays? Do we go on vacations together?
What happens when our family gets bigger? Spouses? Are there any nieces and nephews? (I guess they would be grandkids huh? YIKES)
How often do we talk with each other? Do you talk often with your siblings?
What is the nature of our conversation? Are we talking about our lives and what is really going on or are we doing the adult equivalent of NOTHING REALLY!
How about email as an alternative to the phone. Are we all hooked up on line wherever we live?
OK how about something a little tougher….How close are we as a family…..really? What happens if something really great happens for one of us…. Are we all there to help celebrate? I suppose it is fair to ask the opposite question… What happens if someone gets hurt or has something bad happens, or just plain needs our help? Are we all there for each other?
How will we treat each other? Do we respect and love each other? Can other people around us see how much we respect and love each other?
And finally….How much importance do we place on family versus individual? Ultimately the importance we put on it will determine the kind of family we will be in 2008. I am willing to sign up to whatever vision we create and to work hard to make it happen. Are you?
Back to the Future 2009
I cried when I read this, ten years later. Because of its personal poignancy and its accuracy. My family is as close as ever. We communicate incessantly by every electronic means available. We added a new member to our family when my oldest daughter was married this past summer. We just returned from a great family vacation. Newspapers are almost dead and of course the Red Sox have won the World Series, twice. Life is good.
As a Personal Stylist, my mission is to create outfits that make my clients look and feel terrific. Dressing well is about manhandling the rules and trends to create a look that’s uniquely one’s own.
This roundup of Fall’s menswear trends and my corresponding “real life” suggestions are meant to serve as inspiration as you figure out what works for you.
Trend #1 Military
Military is a perennial favorite, and designers are adept at keeping it fresh each season. A major bonus that comes with it is the epaulette, which fools the eye into thinking the wearer’s shoulders are broader than they actually are. Look for jackets like Reiss’s military macintosh coat ($485) or Burberry’s wool and cashmere peacoat ($1195).
You could also go the authentic route and hit up an Army-Navy surplus or thrift store for a military peacoat. I found this handsome one (complete with arm patch and interior stencil and name plate) below for $60 at a thrift store in Connecticut last Fall.
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Julie Rath: Fall Trends
The way you pack can either make or break your trip. Hanging around the airport lost baggage office is a drag (I’ve been there), as is opening up a suitcase and finding everything in a crumpled mess. With some foresight and planning, however, you can make the process seamless and worry-free. Read on for 9 tips on how to pack like a pro:
1) If you travel frequently to the same location, say from your east coast office to your west coast office, leave a trunk or suitcase at the hotel. Most good hotels are happy to do this for frequent guests, and often without charge. Lifestyle engineer and frequent traveler Tim Ferriss recommends this, and while you may not keep lentils and whey protein in your trunk like Tim does, his idea is enormously useful for clothes and shoes which can take up a lot of space in your luggage. When the clothes you wore are dirty, simply give them to the hotel laundry and tell them to put them back in your bag when they’re clean. Every so often you can switch things out so you aren’t repeating outfits too much.
2) One can tend to accumulate things along the way when traveling, particularly for leisure. In order to make sure everything fits on the way back and/or that you can still fit your bag as a carry-on, bring along 4-5 empty gallon-size Ziploc bags on your trip. When you’re packing to come home, fold and put your dirty clothes inside the bags, then (and this is the key), SIT on the Ziploc to squeeze out all of the air, and then zip it shut. You’re essentially vacuum-sealing your clothes. This works great for dirty t-shirts, underwear and socks, and it saves you a huge amount of space. When you get home, the contents of the Ziplocs go straight into the laundry. No sorting required.
3) Keep a separate travel toilet kit with travel-size versions of all the toiletrees you’ll need for travel. Don’t touch it except for when traveling.
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Julie Rath: How to Pack Like a Pro
If you are like me and plan on doing nothing at all this Sunday, you ought to at least have enough pride to get up early and start right away!
Anything worth doing –even doing nothing –is worth doing well.
Sunday morning vanity conversation leading to disappointment
This morning I was admiring my recent weight loss in the bathroom mirror as my wife and I were getting ready to go out for coffee. After my proud moment of self-satisfaction, I threw on a pair of jeans and wet my hair before combing it and began looking for a shirt.”
My wife walked in the bathroom to explain how our dog Macy was just… showing off to her by proudly holding a spider in her mouth before it dropped out and ran away.
Wanting to change the topic back to my proud weight loss, I pointed to myself and said, “Well, what do you think?”
“What?” Rebecca answered quizzically.
“This.” I responded smugly pointing in a circular motion to my torso area.
“What? You got water on you?”
“No!” I said flustered. “I’ve lost 28 lbs.”
“Oh.” Rebecca responded laughing. “You are acting like Macy showing off having a spider in her mouth.”
“No I’m not.” I said defensively. “I don’t think it’s the same thing at all. First off Macy didn’t lose 28 lbs and, second off, I am not holding anything in my mouth.”
“OK.” Rebecca said laughing to herself.
“Do you have water on you?” I repeated to myself under my breath. “Really?”
“Well, I’m proud of both you and Macy this morning.” Rebecca offered in a consoling voice.
Dressing for a formal event is like ice climbing: one misstep, and it’s all downhill. The reason there are so many rules to follow is that the point of formal dressing originally was that at formal engagements, men could blend into the crowd while their female companions could stand out in their finery. For this reason, if you’re having a formal wedding, it’s particularly important that you nail the details. With so many options out there, here’s your cheat sheet:
Renting vs Buying: Buy if at all possible. When you have a chance to dress formally — particularly on your wedding day — you should look your absolute best, and renting won’t achieve that. I’ve seen more ill-fitting rented tuxes than I care to recall. Yes, buying a good-quality, well-tailored tux is an investment, but it’s a very good one that will pay dividends in photos. Not to mention you’ll save in the long run not having to rent each time you need one. Renting will cost you anywhere from 25-50% of the average purchase price of a tux, so if you do it a few times, and it adds up. You’ll be happy next time you get a formal invite if you’re armed with a tux in your closet that fits you impeccably.
Black Tie vs. White Tie vs. Morning Attire: The wording of your invitation dictates the color of your neckwear. “Black tie” (also referred to as “evening dress”) means a black bowtie, which is traditionally worn with a tuxedo. “White tie” (also referred to as ” full evening dress;” see above left) means a white bowtie, which is worn with tails. This is a very dressy look. Both black and white tie are generally worn after 6PM. A morning suit is your most formal daytime look (see above right). This is typically reserved for weddings taking place before 6PM. The morning coat (essentially a frock coat with the corners cut away — hence the term “cutaway coat”) is black or gray with a single button at the waist. Wear it with gray striped trousers, a gray or white vest, a wing collar shirt, and a tie or an ascot. Leave the top hat and walking stick at home.
The information below pertains to tuxedos.
Color and Fabric: Black is the standard, but midnight blue is also acceptable. White is typically worn in warmer climates for open-air events. Choose something in a wool that isn’t too heavy. Chances are you’re only going to have one tux in your closet, so it should be as versatile as possible.
Jacket: The most common and versatile jacket type is a one-button, but you can also go with double-breasted (see above), which looks best on guys with broader physiques. If you wear a double-breasted jacket, a cummerbund is unnecessary. The traditional dinner jacket (a fancy name for your tux jacket) is ventless, but a you can also go for a more modern — and generally more flattering — look with double vents.
Collar: This should be either peaked or shawl. A peaked lapel (where the points of the lapel point upward; see above and below left) reads as more powerful, whereas shawl collar (which has a continuous curve; see above and below right) sends off a softer message. Unless you’re a waiter, your wedding tux shouldn’t have a notched lapel.
Cummerbund/Vest/Going Without: Formal dressing dictates that the waistband of your trousers should never show, hence the traditional need for either a vest or cummerbund. In general, the cummerbund is a more stylish option. If you wear a vest, your guests might ask where your organ and monkey are, and hopefully you won’t be bringing either to your wedding, so why confuse people? Either way, the cummerbund or vest should be subtle and keep its mouth shut. Now is not the time to channel your inner Elton John. If you opt for the classic cummerbund, make sure you wear it with the pleats facing upward (fun fact: this hails from British colonial days where gentlemen used to tuck their theater tickets into the pleats). Formal dressing aside, if you want to stray from tradition, this is one place where that’s ok. These days, it’s become acceptable for guys to skip the vest or cummerbund altogether. Just make sure the shirt you buy has actual buttons or a covered placket, and this will eliminate the need for studs.
Pants: Your pants never have cuffs, as that would spoil the sleek lines of your look. They should have satin banding on the sides. No belts please — your tux pants should come with side adjusters to ensure proper fit. If you still feel you need something to hold them up, you can wear suspenders in simple black or white.
Shirt: Your shirt should be perfectly pressed and have French cuffs. It can have either a plain, bib or narrowly-pleated front. It’s made of marcella cotton, which is noticeably thicker than regular cotton and has a honeycomb-like appearance. The shirt is either turndown or wing collar. A turndown collar is always sharp, modern and elegant, while a wing collar is a bit of a throwback to the 19th century and works best with white tie.
Bowtie: Always tie it yourself. If you’ve never tied one before, now is the time to learn. This guide will walk you through it. The bowtie should be black and made of silk satin or silk grosgain. If you’re more comfortable in a straight tie, it’s acceptable to wear a black one that’s relatively slim, as a more modern fashion statement (see above).
Socks and Shoes: The former should be black silk hose, and the latter either black patent leather or polished black calf skin. Shoes should be lightweight and unadorned.
Accessories: As mentioned above, when dressing formally, blending in is a good thing, and standing out only leads to embarrassment as it means you broke the rules somehow. If this feels overly rigid, and you’re itching to show some personal style, you can do so via your accessories. Just make sure you keep the look subtle and nuanced. Your pocket square, cuff links, studs, watch (which matches your cuff links) and charming personality are excellent ways to do so.
Fit: As with suiting, fit is your everything when it comes to formal attire. It should fit close to your frame with the jacket hitting exactly on your shoulders. The break on your pants can be slightly shorter than what you normally get on regular trousers.
While there is quite a bit to keep in mind with black-tie dressing, don’t let it intimidate you. After all, wearing a tux is about confidence and panache. Once you figure it out, you’ll find that a tux can be completely transformative for any man. It’s absolutely worth the work.
For most of my clients, Summer means t-shirt time. How does yours fit? Don’t laugh — even though it’s just a t-shirt, it should fit you as well as all of the other items in your wardrobe. Below are 4 key points to watch for when determining whether to buy that next beefy-t:
1) The shoulder seam should hit directly on the edge of your shoulder. When a t-shirt is too big, these seams hang off your shoulder and make you look sloppy. But wearing a shirt with the seam right on the edge of your shoulder will make you look fit and trim.
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Julie Rath: How Your T-Shirt Should Fit