Category Archives: Culture

Festival Fashion

It’s early summer which means the start of festival season. While the theme and feel of each festival is unique, there are a few things every festival has in common: music, food, and fashion. The fashion I speak of is not the fashion you see on city streets, runways, or magazines.The foundation of festival style is the necessity for ease of mobility and overall comfort, which is why you see so many people wearing looser fitting garments in light weight fabrics. Festival fashion has grown organically over the years and has inspired it’s own genre of style that speaks to the spirit of what festivals and festival culture are really about: being free-spirited and stepping out of society for a few hours, or days.

While you may see people at festivals wearing similar things (girls wearing high-waist-ed shorts, tops with fringe, headbands, flowers in their hair, etc. and men wearing tank tops, swim trunks, Bob Marley tees, etc) don’t feel the need to mimic or copy these fashions necessarily. Festivals are a  place to abandon all rules, go against the norm, and wear whatever your heart desires. Just remember to stick to comfortable,light, breathable fabrics, and strive for styles with good vibes.

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Fashionable Men at the Met

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Trend Alert: Tropical Prints

Throwback Trend: Tropical Prints

Remember that shirt your dad wore to every backyard barbecue and pool party- the embarrassing  shirt with over-sized Hawaiian flowers, you know the one. As much as you may have tried and potentially succeeded at eliminating the painful memories and feelings of embarrassment at your dad’s summer wardrobe, there are undoubtedly reminders of the trauma nailed to the walls of your home in frames that read, “Orlando 2001”, or, “Family Vacation 1998.”  If you were, however, lucky enough to not have these experiences documented and made into a magnet for the refrigerator door, I envy you. However, those tropical shirts are hitting the shelves as a must-have summer staple. If you’re picturing a polyester oversized shirt with ketchup stains, I am happy to inform you that that’s NOT what I am referring to. What I am referring to is the ultra trendy, slightly less obnoxious, slim-cut tropical print shirts, shorts, and shoes that will decorate East Coast boardwalks all summer long. The throwback you

tropical prints

(Scotch & Soda, J.Crew, Bloomingdale’s)

How to wear this trend without being obnoxious…

Easy! Pair a tropical print garment with a more subdue complement. For example, take a floral print short-sleeve button down and pair it with salmon, khaki, navy, or chambray shorts and your favorite boat shoes or loafers. If it’s your shorts that are adorned with the tropical print, choose a classic white button-down or simple solid-colored tee. Avoid anything too bright- you don’t want your pieces to fight each other for attention.

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Fashionably British

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Don’t get me wrong I adore American fashion and American designs, but there is something so debonaire about British fashion that I absolutely adore. One of the most endearing qualities of British menswear is how true to tradition it remains; British design elements very rarely change or evolve, which is a characteristic that some may criticize, but their designs are traditional and unique from the rest of world, and quite honestly, don’t need to changes.

Their muted, neutral color palettes are neither drab nor are they attention-seeking; they are a total reflection of Great Britain’s climate and culture.  Britain’s foggy, often rainy, maritime climate doesn’t lend itself to bright cheerful colors, and the British “Keep Calm and Carry On” attitude doesn’t allow for pompous fashion and bold look at me palettes. Navy blue, hunter green, and shades of grey dominate British wardrobes, which might make one think that British fashion is dull or just more of the same, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

For Brits, distinction in fashion lies in the design: the fit, the cut, the quality. Men’s formal and ready-to-wear shirts, sports coats, and blazers traditionally slim-cut and fitted to the body, cutting in slightly at the waist. Trousers, too, are typically very slim cut and taper down the leg, which differs from traditional American designs, which usually have a straight leg. Outerwear diverges from the other ready-to-wear items I have mentioned in that the designs are typically less fitted, but remains in sync with the rest of British menswear in its color palette. Outwear is made of durable textiles, almost always lined, and designed to endure all weather conditions.

Idiot’s Guide to Buying British:

  • Knickers: Underwear
  • Gilet: Vest
  • Trouser: Pants
  • Caban: Jacket featuring a cutaway collar; usually double breasted
  • Parka: lightweight, durable coat; typically lined and meant for rainy or windy weather conditions

Here are some of my favorite pieces from each of my favorite British brands and retailers…

Jack Wills:

jackwills

 Burberry:

TopMan:

topman

Barbour:

barbour

Paul Smith:

PaulSmith

 

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Urban Meets Preppy in Mark McNairy’s Collection

Veteran menswear designer Mark McNairy, under the New Amsterdam label, has created a wicked collection that juxtaposes traditional, preppier menswear styles with trendy, urban elements inspired by the streets. The combination is totally refreshing, screams excitement, and is so in touch with millennial tastes.

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Here are some of my favorite elements:

1. Banded bottoms – inspired by the ultra-trendy, and very urban, sweats and joggers.

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2. Pattern play– placing preppy patterns on urban styles (and vice versa) to crush expectation.

 

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(All images from NY Times Runway Collections)

 

 

 

 

 

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Style Spotlight: Grosvenor

Grosvenor

I usually prefer to promote designers and brands that are sourced, created, and/or produced in the United States, but I am making an exception with this Style Spotlight piece, which focuses on a luxury shirt company from across the pond.

If this is the first time you’re hearing of the Grosvenor brand, that’s because until recently their custom and ready-to-wear shirts were only available in their two store fronts in London and Picadilly, but now these luxury items are available online to preppy professionals around the world, and they’re totally worth the cross Atlantic shipping costs. When you first look at their products online, they might not immediately strike you; at first glance, they look like something you could walk into any department store and pick up…With Grosvenor, the unique quality is in the details: alternating buttons, patterned trim, complimentary colors, carefully selected fabric. Grosvenor does such a great job of creating unique color combinations that appease the eye and favor the preppy man’s tastes.

Here are a few shirts from the Luxury and Casual collections, which range in price from $140-$160, a steal considering the quality and sense of elitism that comes from owning something that is made in limited quantities and is imported from Europe, and not found at your local Macy’s.

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Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the shirts to appreciate some of the details I mentioned…

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What I love so much about the Grosvenor collections of both casual and luxury shirts is that each collection is cohesive and tells a story. This is something that is highly valued in the women’s ready-to-wear division of the fashion industry but is not stressed as much in classic menswear. When it comes to men’s dress shirts and button-downs what you find is that either a prominent menswear designer creates maybe one or two of this style shirt in a basic, neutral color, or you find a brand that creates the same shirt in 8 different colors, but there’s no motif. With Grosvenor it is obvious if you see two of their shirts together that they came from the same collection, either because of a repetition of pattern, color, and detailing amongst the designs.

In addition to excellent shirts, both ready-to-wear and custom designed, Grosvenor also offers accessories, including a wide variety of ties, several sets of crafted cuff-links, belts, and pocket squares- everything the well-dressed man needs, from the waist up, at least.

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Visit the Grosvenor site for more information and to purchase one of their high-quality ready-to-wear shirts or have them create a custom shirt, designed specifically to suit your body and your tastes.

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Eradicate the Fear & Embrace the Man Bag

When you walk into any department store you can’t help but notice the extremely large section, sometimes floor, dedicated to women’s handbags and purses. There are many, many people who spend their entire lives focused on designing and creating stylish handbags for women, because they know that for women a handbag is an absolute necessity. Any girl (or woman) over the age of 13 wouldn’t dare go anywhere without a purse or bag of some sort; women are reliant on handbags to carry all of their life’s necessities…and then some.

While men typically have less excess “stuff” and have larger pockets to carry things like a wallet, phone, and keys, men should be afforded the same luxury of being able to have one place to carry and store the things they need any given day….oh wait, they are. There are a decent amount of designers producing nice, high quality bags for men intended for everyday use, but the market for these type of bags is small. This begs the question, if there are designers willing to produce bags for men and there is a need for such bags, why aren’t more men seeking out and buying handbags? The lack of popularity among men  is rooted in the extreme popularity among women. Men see mimicking women’s style as making them appear feminine, less masculine, and for a socially conscious straight man, this equates to the fear of appearing gay.

It’s time to eradicate this antiquated way of thinking. There is nothing wrong or weird about a man carrying a handbag, messenger bag, or satchel. There are many handbags designed for men that are functional, extremely stylish, and still masculine, or differentiable from women’s purses and handbags. It’s time that men, gay, straight and everything in between, stop stuffing and stretching their pockets, and embrace the murse (man-purse).

manbag(Thom Browne, Prada, Paul Smith, Dolce & Gabbana)

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US Olympic OC Fashion: Political or Patriotic?

The Olympic games are one of the few events which enlist the participation of 88 nations and garners global spectator-ship. The Olympics are just as much a cultural event as they are a sporting event. And while this is an event for the global community, the competitive nature of the games inspires a great deal of patriotism and nationalism. Each team has a responsibility to represent its country’s values and culture from the moment they touch down in Sochi to the moment they leave, whether medal-clad or not. Most people assume that by winning medals in their respective events that the athletes have proven the success of their country’s government, culture, and fundamental values and mores. But unless the athlete is someone like Michael Phelps who boasts 22 medals, the world is more likely to remember your presence and presentation than they are to remember your performance.

This is why the teams’ and individuals’ appearances are so important and this is where fashion comes into play (pun intended). The teams’ styles are debuted and broadcasted to a worldwide audience at the games’ Opening Ceremonies, where the athletes are formally welcomed and introduced. Next to each individual’s event this is the most important moment for the athletes and even more so for their respective countries. Each country’s culture is being assessed through how their is presented and a major component of this is how they look: their physical appearance and how they are dressed.

OpeningCeremonies_RL_Team

This year, as in 2010 and 2012, the United States’ Olympic team will be dressed head to toe in Ralph Lauren designs, but unlike previous years, these designs were produced and manufactured entirely in the United States. It seems like common sense that the America team wear designs that showcase the talent of American designers, and also the capacity of American clothing manufacturers, but this apparently wasn’t so apparent to the USOC and Ralph Lauren. It was not until political backlash over US team uniforms and attire being produced in China that the decision was made for this year’s drab to be entirely American from concept to production.

The Ralph Lauren ensembles this year are pretty similar to what we saw in 2010, with the exception of this year’s much talked about vibrantly patriotic cardigans. The cardigan is boldly American with displays of large stars, red and white stripes, two American flags, the letters USA printed once on the chest and again much larger on the back. There was some immediate concern over perceived “flamboyance” of the sweaters as the Russian government has made clear its anti-homosexual views through rhetoric and policy. There was speculation that the sweaters were designed to make a political statement that was less so “pro-gay” and more so “Anti-Russia.” Regardless I find it hard to believe that there was any intention on the part of Ralph Lauren’s design team to make any statement other than, “Go USA!” mainly because these designs were probably in concept before the issue of Russia’s views towards the gay community were broadcast to the Olympic community.

OpeningCeremonies_RL_SweaterAs for the rest of the ensemble, which includes white knit pants, navy and red all-weather boots, a think turtle neck, and a patterned knit hat, I was less than impressed in terms of the creativity of the designs as it is something that we have already seen and they are less than fashionable. To Ralph Lauren’s credit, these outfits have to both gender-neutral and also functional in the Russian climate.

All-in-all the outfit is extremely patriotic and I am so happy to know that everything was made here in the USA.

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Olympic-Inspired Style

Not that an excuse is ever needed to be patriotic, but in the spirit of the upcoming Olympic games, it only seems right that we all start dressing the part of the freedom-loving, beer-drinking, firework-throwing Americans! Break out the bold blues and radiant reds, and show your support for Team USA!

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This is a great casual-sophisticated look that is both patriotic and stylish.

Get the look: Red& White striped pullover from Scotch & Soda. Dark Denim Pant from Scotch & Soda. Railroad Stripe Chambray from Wolf Vs. Goat. Leather belt and Oxford shoe in a deep cognac brown from Bloomingdales.

usaoutfit2This sporty but stylish look is more subtle in its patriotic spirit. Makes a great weekend outfit!

Get the look: Dark denim from Scotch & Soda. Soft, hand-dyed t-shirt from Wolf Vs. Goat. Tailored blazer in Navy from Scotch & Soda. White leather slip-on with striped detailing by Gucci.

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Viability & Buyability of Wearable Technology

Typically when doing research for new blog posts and content, I scour the NYTimes style section, pages of GQ and Nylon, peruse local boutiques and ateliers, or stalk runway shows, but with the announcement of increased investment and innovation in wearable technology at the annual Consumer Electronics Show, I am expanding my scope to include tech blogs and releases.

At first I was turned off by the whole idea, and I will admit I am still a little skeptical about the whole idea. I’m not sure how comfortable I am with my clothing and accessories knowing more about my body and my feelings than I do…sometimes I want to eat that extra cookie even though my body isn’t hungry anymore, and sometimes I like being able to deny or reject my feelings. These new devices and technologies have the power to totally destroy the “ignorance is bliss” mentality and force you to confront reality. I can’t imagine I am alone in saying that that scares the shit out of me.

My next thought on wearable technology is whether or not it is actually viable as wearable by fashion’s standards…Some things, like Microsoft’s “Smart Bra“, designed to measure the heart rate and detect emotion, may catch on among women because it’s not something that is outwardly visible (all the time) and even if it is, the design is not really any different from a bra you might find at a department store or Victoria’s Secret. If Microsoft really wants this item to take off, they need to find a way to make the bra aesthetically appealing and keep the costs down. Another wearable technology that has the potential to really blow up are watches(or bracelets) and shoes designed to measure key performance indicators in a workout or athletics. I think a lot of the items being developed will be extremely successful if marketed and directed towards a specific niche group, like genY women, people looking to lose weight, or athletes. However, I just have a hard time imagining major fashion designers compromising their style and design aesthetics for the purpose of incorporating a likely expensive technology into their clothes. Unless these technologies can become somehow invisible to the naked eye, easily embedded and incorporated into the design, and relatively inexpensive to include, I don’t see how wearable technology can be successful in the mass market.

But then again, people have no problem being seen in a headset, earphones, or with their iPhones glued to their palm, so maybe Google Glass and other wearable gadgets do stand a chance… time will tell.

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