Wednesday, October 21, 2009

USA's White Collar Brings Style

USA is bringing us another one-hour serial, and this one actually seems like it may have a lot of style. I wrote an article on Examiner some months back on the style of the show "Burn Notice." Enter "White Collar", the new show featuring Matt Bomer. Bomer's previous career highlights include a stint on the cancelled "Traveler" and more recently NBC's "Chuck." While the premise of the show is a little far-fetched and heavily borrowed from the feature film "Catch Me If You Can," I will reserve judgement until I actually get to see the pilot. And while CMIYC was based on the real life exploits of Frank Abignale, Bomer's character Neal Caffery seems too cool and too good and too stylish to be true. Part of that is because the show's costume designer Stephanie Maslansky puts him in some top tier clothing. According to, Maslansky comments that she put Bomer in Thomas Pink, Paul Smith and a lot of John Varvatos. Stay tuned for specific pieces that are available off the rack here and at Examiner.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Guyliner and Manscara? Really?!?!?

WTF?!?!?!?! I cannot believe that it has come to this. Okay, maybe I'm overreacting. Maybe in my cro-magnon sensibility i am jumping to conclusions about something that may just be a passing fad that happens to be popular with a certain kind of guy. Emo? Okay I guess I understand; Rocker? Okay, well even Billy Jo of Green Day and Brett Michaels of Poison wore it. Then again so did KISS, Alice Cooper and Ozzie Osborne, but those guys were also generally considered nucking futs! I spent a lot of time ranting on why Men don't need to wear skinny jeans, and I'm almost apalled that I have to even write about why men should not wear makeup. Makeup! The quintessential woman's accessory. Jonny Depp is cool as Jack Sparrow, but when he's hamming it up on his private island or indulging fans and press at publicity junkets, he's not wearing eyeliner, or mascera. Many women already complain that men have better eyelashes than they do, so why exsacerbate the issue by clumping on makeup? Bottom line, it's just not a good idea. Ever!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ralph Lauren updates a classic

The classic Polo Ralph Lauren Ranger Boot has experienced something of a resurrection...well a renaissance really. The boot technically never went away. Originally introduced in 1994, the boot boasted Lauren's spirited preppy style with the rugged integrity of a boot. It's unique styling made it one of a kind in its own right, and although a similar boot called "Trapper" was released a year later (with a double buckle strap on the shank and no buckle strap across the foot), it could not compete with the enduring popularity of the Ranger boot. I got my first pair (pictured above in the right) while I was in high school and still occasionally have worn them over these past 14 years - and their still as stylish and as comfortable as ever.
The boot received a makeover in 1998 - the sole was thickened and the unique markers of the boot were also changed. Gone was the iconic green tongue tag with "Polo Country" on it, also the circular leather disc was changed and the text on it replaced with a singular Polo pony. One of the things I loved about the boot was that while the Polo boat shoes were emblazoned with the pony image, these were different - obviously the designer disagreed and decided to go this route, and keep it. The newly released Rangers, now available for the first time at, has the Polo pony image, and does not have the iconic green "Polo Country" tag, which makes my originals something of a classic keepsake. But the Boot has been redesigned to resemble its origianal shape and sole, and I do think that is something to be celebrated. The Polo Ralph Lauren Ranger Boot is available in Tan and Black leather, for $149.00

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Men of Sterling Cooper

Don Draper, Roger Sterling, Pete Campbell and the rest of AMC's "Mad Men" have become my new obsession. Each Sunday night I habitually sit in front of my television like a voyeur wishing that I had been alive in the 1960s and able to capitalize on the style of the bygone era. Of course, being black I would've had to deal with the racism of the Jim Crow pre-civil rights movement times, but damn, it would be stylish! I expecially like how many of the men fill out the grey and brown of thier two and three button suit. That's a credit to the costume designer and producers who procured the genius style of Brooks Brothers as inspiration and actual wardrobe pieces.

Rationalizing Sportswear, literally.

"I got so many jerseys I tell the cleaners I wanna full court press!"
So said Ludacris about his collection of basketball jerseys. And even though that line is from 2003, I can thankfully report that the trend is on a downturn, but not completely dead. Why? Well, as long as there are sports legends that have their jerseys resurrected by companies like Mitchell & Ness, the authority on "throwbacks," they will always be around. But are they in style? That question depends on your perspective. Watching the game at home with the guys, or even at the game in person - merits, I think, wearing the jersey. A celebration of team solidarity is something to be admired, especially during the playoffs. But recently I saw a young man wearing a Minnesota Lakers jersey for Lou Alcindor. He had no idea that he was wearing the jersey of the great Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, before he changed his name, and before the Lakers moved to Los Angeles. So is the "style" soley dependent on the acumen of the wearer? What about old football jerseys? I especially like the ones that don't have the team name or logo on them, which makes them more of a comfortable addition to the wardrobe than a walking billboard. The key is to make it look like you're not trying too hard, which is impossible to do wearing a hockey sweater (which is why, especially in the South, you rarely ever see hockey jerseys outside of the arenas).

No More Skinny Jeans.

Gentlemen, stop wearing the skinny jeans. Seriously! Please stop. This new “trend” not only looks ridiculous, but slaps the face of those who wore them for a reason back in the day. I’m talking to you Jonas Brothers. You are not the Ramones! They weren’t setting a trend. They were championing minimalism and pioneering the punk-rock movement, to be loyally carried out by Iggy Pop, Nick Rave and the like. And unless Kanye West is preparing to go from Hip-Hop to Emo, he should take heed to Jay-Z’s “D.O.A.” lyrics when he spouts, “You boys jeans too tight/You colors too bright/Your voice too light.”

Here’s the odd thing about it, taking into account the unsettling trend of oversized jeans taking over in the 90s, jeans were never meant to be trendy. They were a created as a utility clothing to keep your regular clothes from getting dirty while working, thus all the pockets and loops. In the 50s they became a symbol of non-conformity (the exact opposite of “trends”) and usually were worn by bikers or angry teenagers. Fast-forward, and now we have all kinds of trendy denim to choose from, like it or not. Straight fit, Baggy, Carpenter, Boot-cut, Premium Denim, the list goes on.

So, though it’s my opinion – and a popular one, I have to ask what in the world is so enticing about skinny jeans? I’m talking to you Zac Efron! They look incredibly uncomfortable; they’re way too tight to be functional - pockets wise; and heaven forbid you decide to eat like a man – what happens then? Yet, sales of these jeans are on the rise, slowly but surely. According to the Wall Street Journal, True Religion’s skinny jeans make up 15% of sales in the first quarter of 2009, up four percent from last year. Rock and Republic reports that sales of its skinny jeans are up 26% from last year. And to accommodate men with less-than-forgiving bodies, Levis Strauss and 7 For All Mankind have made adjustments to the thighs and crotch areas of their jeans.

Wearing clothes that fit is one thing. If your clothes are too big, you run the risk of looking as if you raided your Dad’s closet. But to my knowledge, it’s never been a praised concept to wear clothing that risks cutting off blood-circulation. So, yeah, I’m talking to you wearers of skinny jeans! Walk into Lucky Brand, or Abercrombie, or dare I say it, Wal-Mart – and grab a pair of jeans that fit the way they should, without giving you a tight squeeze.