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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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




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.

Julie Rath: The Six Shoes Every Guy Should Own

In a perfect world, you would have something in your closet to wear for every occasion. Part of that is having the right footwear. After all, having the WRONG shoes can completely throw off an otherwise great outfit (we’ve all seen that guy looking smooth in his well-fitting suit but massacring the look with his 90′s square-toed dress shoes). If you only focus on how you look ankle up, you miss the mark. Below is my list of the 6 essential shoes every guy should have in his closet.

Men's Personal Shopper: Crockett and Jones Finsbury Oxford

1. Brown Laceups — A lot of new styling clients resist this one thinking there’s no need for it, but truly it’s the most versatile shoe in your wardrobe — you can wear it with everything from jeans to a suit. Go for a medium shade of brown that can be worn with the widest variety of pant shades.


Men's Personal Shopper: Crockett and Jones Alex Laceups2. Black Laceups — This is your dressiest shoe, to be worn with suits and on formal occasions. Choose one with a clean toe, i.e., no seaming or broguing, so you can wear it with a tuxedo (after polishing it up).


Men's Personal Shopper: John Varvatos Loafer3. Loafer — There are lots of variations on loafers, so you should go with what appeals to you visually. And avoid the pitfall of buying a “hybrid” shoe (anything with a very sporty sole). As I’ve said before, the place where the sneaker meets any other kind of shoe is like a dark alley late at night — nowhere you’d want to be.


Men's Personal Shopper: Common Projects Sneakers4. Social Sneaks — This is my term for a clean and classic non-athletic sneaker (i.e., one you wouldn’t work out in). It’s for casual walking around.


Men's Personal Shopper: Chelsea Boot5. Dress Boot — A dress boot adds wonderful versatility to your wardrobe. It’s the perfect answer to the question of what to wear out on weekends. And with a dressy enough boot and in the right environment, you can also wear it with dress clothes like a suit or pants and sportcoat. For more on the different types of boots to choose from, go here.


Men's Personal Shopper: Rain/Snow Boots
6. Rain/Snow Boot — Depending on what type of inclement weather you get, this is either a rain or snow boot (or both). It should have a rubber sole for gripping and be waterproof or water resistant.


Once you have these essentials, you can build from there, getting variations within each category. Think variations on toe detail and broguing for the black/brown laceup, and different varieties of boots.

Do you have everything on this list? If not, what are you missing?

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Thoughts of the Day

jyb_musingsThought for the day…(Footwear mindfulness)

Today I refuse to give in to the temptation to wear white socks with casual shoes –while wearing shorts–no matter how comfortable the footwear combination may seem to me. I will be deliberate and steadfast in my commitment –even into late afternoon while just walking around the house.


This moment is not one you ever plan for or think could ever happen to you.

If you were given a lie detector test a week earlier where you are asked if you will ever wear white socks and casual shoes you would swear it will never happen and would pass the test with flying colors.

10456464_10154269488675515_6387223089949654545_nAnd then one week later, when you are just minding your own business, you look down and see this.

It just happens.

This doesn’t mean you are a liar.

It doesn’t mean you are old.

It just means you have passed through a “shame threshold” that only others who can be seen dressing like this can fully appreciate and understand.

Julie Rath: Outfit Building Through Color-Linking

PS by Paul Smith Men's Henley

‘Tis true, I talk about henleys a lot in general as smart layering pieces,  but this  number ($310) from PS by Paul Smith is currently at the top of my favorites  list. Here, the devil is in the details: the marled wool and red button thread  stitching are just the right unexpected touches to make its wearer  stand out without being party-pants obnoxious. I got this piece for a client  during Mr. Porter‘s Friend’s  and Family sale a few weeks back, and in person the red button hole thread is  much more visible than in the image above. The cool thing about this detail is  that it allows you to wear red elsewhere in your outfit as a way of pulling an  entire look together. With that in mind, here are some ideas of how to style  it:

Under a sport coat…

GANT by Michael Bastian Prince of Wales sport coat

Opt for a neutral-colored fabric with a thin red line running through it as  part of the pattern like this GANT by Michael Bastian sport coat. (Red elbow  patches optional.)

Under a sweater…

Polo Ralph Lauren men's cashmere sweater

Because both red references are on your top half, wearing a red sweater like this one above, from Polo Ralph Lauren, is a bit of a  no-brainer. Bonus: if you want to tie in your bottom half, add socks that  have some red in them like those from Corgi below. Note that solid red socks would be  overkill.

Corgi men's socks


Under a sport shirt…

Bonobos men's check sport shirt

Another somewhat straightforward choice, throw it on under a sport  shirt that has red in its pattern, like this one from Bonobos, as an alternative to a v- or crewneck t-shirt.

With red footwear…

Red men's deck shoes

Red deck shoes like these from Polo Ralph Lauren and Shoo respectively are as bold as I’d suggest you  go for pulling in red elsewhere in your outfit. Of course, bright red  shoes are not for everyone, so as always, make sure to stick with what suits  your personality when choosing your look.

With red laces…

Diemme Roccia Vet men's boots

Wearing red laces like those in these Diemme boots is a more low key way of bringing your upstairs  and downstairs together.

Using the red button thread stitching on this henley as above is just one  example of how to subtly tie in any color in one part of your outfit with the  same color elsewhere. You can do this with almost any clothing detail. As  always, I welcome your questions and comments about how to accomplish this.

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