fashion

His Story: Black Men with Style | Style Icons

His Story: Black Men with Style | Style Icons

His Story

“Fashion, fade style is eternal” -Yves St. Laurent (1936-2008)

French fashion designer, Yves St. Laurent said it well, “Fashion does often fade but style is eternal.” Is it genetic, innate or created, you chose, but certainly whatever it is, the style icons of  yesterday and today will always be remembered for their impeccable style, and their ability to turn heads.  The men profiled in this article each have their own unique style. The middle photo is of the “Unforgettable” Nat King Cole, the suit with the crisp white shirt and the cufflinks.  He was such a style icon of his day. The next two photos are of the very handsome and debonair Duke Ellington. In Robert Green’s book, The  Art  of Seduction, he refers to Duke Ellington as a ”dandy.”  By definition a dandy is “a man who affects the extreme elegance in clothes and manners.” I definitely think Mr. Ellington personifies elegance and style in his dress. In the one photo he sports a Homburg Hat that was popular in the forties, and became popular again when Al Pacino played Michael Corleone in The Godfather. He sets it off with a velvet jacket and vest with his high draped tweed pants. If you have ever heard  Billie Holiday sing “Fine and Mellow,” she mentions high draped pants. Stunning!!! The Maestro looks awesome in his royal blue matching shirt and tie. The next photo is of Mr. Wonderful, Johnny Mathis. Johnny Mathis has always  been known for his  elegant style. He is wearing a beige khaki suit with a white cowl neck  sweater.

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Walter Frazier is a poet from the New York City Area. He attributes his style to his father.  He says, “I watched him dress and men of his generation. I never started to wear hats until I saw my father wear them.” When asked if he has a favorite designer he said “No, I create my own style.” He says that his signature piece would be his watch.  When asked whose style does he most admires, he said “NBA greats Walt Frazier and Earl Monroe.” The advice that he gives to young Black men is “dress with pride and dignity, and keep your pants up.” Walter is wearing a blue linen jacket with a Black pork pie hat, very reminisce of the jazz musicians of the forties. This hat was popularized by the great jazz saxophonist Lester Young. Richard Price is a  college professor from the New York City  Area.

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Professor Price says that his style was mainly influenced by his mother. ”I am one of six and my mother took me to consignment shops for shopping because she had a tight budget.”  He says he still loves to shop at consignment shops from time to time. When asked if he had a favorite designer, he cited Tom Ford, Yves St. Laurent, and old Hollywood vintage glamour of the thirties and forties. He also likes Brooks Brothers and Paul Stewart, and watched the style of the men in his neighborhood and his church. He said as far as signature pieces go,  he loves bold strips and slipper shoes. He stated that he also  admired an Elder named Brother Maddox from his church. His advice to young black men is “as a man of color always look for ways to distinguish yourself from your peers.”   Professor Price  also has his own personal clothing line called Striver’s Row NYC.  The clothes are made to order by appointment only. Professor Price is wearing custom tailored cuffed trousers (Striver’s Row NYC), a doubled breasted pin stripe tweed jacket and black suede slipper shoes and a vintage Louis Vuitton  briefcase.  A true style  Icon! We will definitely be hearing more from this brother!

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The Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts, lll is a very prominent figure in the Harlem  community. He is Pastor of the  historic Abyssinian Baptist Church in the City of New York,and I was honored that he consented be a part of this article. When asked who influenced his style Dr. Butts said, it was his father that inspired his style. He said the didn’t have a favorite designer, however he does have a signature piece which happens to be a pocket watch which he’s had for decades, and is very dear to him.

When asked whose style does he most admires  he says, Nat King Cole ,  Henry Ford Sr., and Dr. Benjamin Mays. The advice that he gives to young Black men is “A man’s appearance is his first line of defense against disrespect. Personal hygiene is of the utmost importance, keep your shoes shined and your shirt clean.” A definite style icon!

I‘d like to end this article with generations of style from  the men in my family. The pictures below are of  my father Joseph H. Green Sr., my grandson Dylan Jason Ellison, my nephew Joseph I. Green (he is the one in the middle with the scarf around his neck). Style has always been and always will be a part of the Black community, and we must teach our young  Black men the elements of style!

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About the Author: La Juana Green is a native of Washington, D.C. and has an English Degree from The University of the District of Columbia. She is a screenwriter, and her screenplay “ Through the Looking Glass “won an Honorable Mention in the 78th Writer’s Digest Writer’s Competition. Her name can be found in the Writer’s Digest Writing Competition Collection published by Outskirts  Press. Most recently, she was the finalist in the Fresh Pitch Contest for her screenplay” ROE “ about an African-American policy runner during the Capone era, based on a true story. Ms. Green makes her home in Harlem, and is currently working a collection of short stories and a screenplay titled “Sisters”.

 

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Well Dressed: A Guide to Mens Shoes

Well Dressed: A Guide to Mens Shoes

Well-Dressed: Grooming and Style

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Well-Dressed: The Power of Personal Presentation

Well-Dressed: The Power of Personal Presentation

Well-Dressed: Grooming and Style

This is a guest post from Mr. Brian Cornwell, an internationally-renowned gentleman, and the founder of the prominent online men’s magazine, Next Luxury.  For nearly 10 years Brian’s advice has helped transformed the lives of men into gentlemen.  

All men know the saying “clothes make the man”, but for the vast majority of men in our society today, the rule seems to get discarded quite often. Perhaps it’s a common mistake due to the daily distractions we face on a regular basis with our individual lifestyles. Surely it may seem acceptable to ignore the notion of dressing like a well groomed man, if you consider what you’ll see walking around any major city. But you can’t let the commonality of what you take in steer you in the wrong direction.

 

You’re bound to discover men by the handfuls that are okay with wearing backwards baseball caps, torn up jeans that are fading in color and worn-out sweatshirts regularly. Now sure, that look might be comfortable for them to wear, but what these men don’t seem to realize is their presentation doesn’t warrant them favorable attention.

And I get it, men will also say it’s expensive to be fashionable and time consuming to follow the trends in a men’s magazine, but the reality of the situation is it’s actually not. Consider the fact that there are sales going on all the time, which will let any gentleman shop on a tight budget. I’ll talk about this later in the article but for now, let’s focus on the core understanding of why having fashionable clothes are extremely important for men.

What your style really says about you

We’ve all seen those fashion makeover shows, and it’s amazing how much of a difference a well dressed man appears in comparison to a poorly dressed man. Granted most of the shows are geared towards woman, no matter which gender it is, the transformation always seems to marvel and impress us.

Now imagine if people started taking away the same positive impressions about you on a daily basis. While it won’t be nearly quite as dramatic, just think for a moment about the newly found attention others could be giving to you. Your business clients, women, family, and friends are all going to take you for being a more respectable gentleman.

These are the same people who spend so much time to impress you with their style and fashion in the first place. In return why wouldn’t you consider presenting yourself in the same manner to them? Don’t let people think about every single thing they need to change about you, instead present to them a man that’s strong in stature and uses good fashion and grooming judgment.

Starting the process of updating your image

One of the best reasons to get yourself out there and start shopping for a new wardrobe is that it’s going to make you stand out. Remember, most guys don’t dress well, and simply updating your wardrobe is going to distinguish you from the competition.

To do so you’re going to first be required to answer this question, “Who are you?” Being fashionable means doesn’t mean you can’t be comfortable or someone you are not. What it really means is that you have your own unique style, one that defines you, and mostly importantly one that you’re comfortable wearing. You need to get an understanding of who you really are and what your true intentions are.

Once you can define yourself, you’ll need to understand who you are trying to impress or attract. Should it be women, take note of the type of women you like, and dress accordingly. Every type of woman has a different fashionable appearance; it could be casual, corporate, trendy, preppy, etc.

Tailor your look to match her lifestyle, and in the same manner do so towards your social setting and business connections. Because remember, if you really want to close a sale, you’re going to have to make the proper impression on the person you’re dealing with. Men or women, you must always present yourself in a way that will gain their trust and respect.

Where to shop and what to spend

You’ll have to whip out the credit card, so be ready to spend some money.  However, don’t think you can’t do it on a budget. You can save quite a bit and discover creative style goods to define your own image by taking a glance at amen’s buyer’s guide online. Pick out some shoes, dress shirts, jeans, jewellery and other items and start to build your collection of ideas on how you want to look.

Now if you aren’t sure on what clothing to purchase and you’ve read a handful of men’s fashion tips, your next step is going to be going to the department store and getting a wardrobe makeover. Walk into the store that fits a general outline of how you want to look, such as Nordstorm, Blumingdales, Macy’s or even A&F if you’re into that. Find a saleswoman that you are attracted to, and ask her to help you discover a style that suits you the best.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to buy everything the sales consultant at the clothing store suggests, just take home what you feel comfortable wearing.

As well, if you’re tight on money consider discount stores, you can get some killer sales on men’s fashion apparel. Plus in June and July is often when you can walk away with some of the best deals. Usually these two months are when major men’s clothing retailers run half-off discounts, which works out great considering you’ll still have a ton of time to wear whatever you purchase.

In closing 

Remember, you can be an amazing dresser regardless of how much you’re willing to spend. Present yourself in the manner that makes the right impression for you. Take notice of the smaller details and never lose focus of how much of an impact they can make on yourself. Often we let these details slip away one by one until our entire style is out of whack. So go out for a fashion wardrobe upgrade often, and re-evaluate your look on a regular basis.

Now I’m not going to be like George Zimmer and say, “you’re going to like the way you look” only. Because if you take this men’s fashion advice to heart, I can guarantee that plus this: “You’re going to like the way people look at you.”

Grant Harris is Owner & Chief Style Consultant at Image Granted, LLC; a Washington, DC based Image Consulting Company dedicated to solving the complex image, style & fashion issues of today’s professional man. Mr. Harris provides private & corporate wardrobe consultations, closet organization, personal shopping & other value-based services for men in need of practical & affordable style advice. Visit Grant at imagegranted.com and follow him on twitter @imagegranted.

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Exquisite Women: Carmen D. Veal

Exquisite Women: Carmen D. Veal

Exquisite Women

TheBlackManCan: Carmen, after learning that your daughter, Sania, has autism you performed a great deal of research to receive a better understanding of the disorder. You could have stopped there, but instead you decided to create the non-profit organization Hope 4 Autism. What inspired you to start the organization? 

CDV: I founded Hope 4 Autism after learning resources for parents like myself were unavailable. Not only did I struggle with the diagnoses, I struggled finding assistance to help me with the diagnosis. I realized there was a missing link between autism and the famiies affected by it. This is what mattered to me, this was the start of my inspiration. 

TheBlackManCan: What was your first reactions to your daughters autism and what form of Autism does Sania have? 

CDV: My daughter is severely autistic. As most people now know, autism is vast in a sense of a spectrum of disorders; each child is effected differently. Sania is completely nonverbal, lacks most self-help skills, and is almost completely socially awkward, amongst other things. My initial reaction to Sania’s diagnoses was fear, denial, guilt—a world of emotions that took a toll on me physically, mentally, and emotionally. 

TheBlackManCan: Who are the individuals that make up your board of directors. How can people get involved with your organization?
 

CDV: Myself as the Founder, Kristen Hopkins as the Public Relations Chair, Nazy Fayaz as the Resource Program Director, Melissa Griffiths as the Marketing Director, Angelic Smith as the Event Coordinator, and Derrick Neal as the Corporate Relations Chair. Anyone interested in getting involved can send a resume and letter/or of interest to info@hope4autism.org. Our website also list vacant positions and contact information for volunteering. 

TheBlackManCan: What services are offered on behalf of Hope for Autism?

CDV: We offer support groups once a month to the parents caring for a child on the spectrum, mini grants to low income families, health and education advocate services, and program resources both in home and in office facilities for the child on the spectrum.

TheBlackManCan: What are some of your organization’s past as well as future events?

CDV: Last year we had two charity benefits that allowed us to focus on spreading the word on our organization and the services we offer. This year our focus is the same, only now we are promoting on a higher level. We have teamed up with sponsors and soon an organization with a similar focus as ours. We combine fashion and family fun while educating on autism to accomodate everyone at our charity events.

TheBlackManCan: How has your childhood experiences shaped who you are now?

CDV: I was raised in a low income household and lived in a very dangerous neighborhood. My experiences in childhood helped me yearn for something more. Such as bigger and better opportunities, success, and happiness. My upbringings helped create a drive in me to prove that I was different and would some day make a difference.

TheBlackManCan: You are President & Head Designer at Sani Auri Boutique. What is San Auri Boutique?

CDV: Sani Auri Boutique is my fashion company. I am in the startup stages of opening the boutique but have been designing woman’s clothing for two years now. I currently offer designs for women in high fashion, subtle, and every day wear. The same designs will be available in Sani Auri Boutique!

TheBlackManCan: When did you realize your passion for fashion? 

CDV: As a child…I loved the idea of creating something I could wear myself. It began with my love for colors and inspiration boards I’d create with clothes I’d cut out of magazines. My passion grew even deeper in high school when I was able to dress up and wear high heel shoes.

TheBlackManCan: What does it mean for a woman to be “well-dressed?” 

CDV: Well-dressed is a defined look that is complete from head to toe. A women doesn’t have to reveal any body part and can still be classy and sexy. Well-dressed means she offers the complete package by dressing and impressing.

TheBlackManCan: Where do you see yourself and your endeavors in the next five years? 

CDV: I see myself owning two very successful businesses. I see Sani Auri being a lucrative franchise businees and Hope 4 Autism offering services and assisting families all over the world. I see my vision with both my passions on international levels.

TheBlackManCan: What words of advice would you like to give the youth? 

CDV: Never ever ever give up on your dreams! Despite your personal struggles know and believe anything and everything is possible. With faith, perseverance, and an optimistic mindset, you will get very far in life. The only thing in this world that could possibly stop you, is you!

Exquisite Women is where we at TheBlackManCan highlight Black Women who are making positive and remarkable contributions to society.  Nominate a Black Woman today on the contact page or e-mail team@theblackmancan.org, subject line: Exquisite Woman!

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League of EXTRAordinary Black Men: J.T. Solomon

League of EXTRAordinary Black Men: J.T. Solomon

League Of Extraordinary Black Men

Listen to advice, but most importantly, listen to yourself. Finally dream big and strive to be the best. ~ J.T. Solomon

Listen to advice, but most importantly, listen to yourself. Finally dream big and strive to be the best. ~ J.T. Solomon

TheBlackManCan is in New York, NY to interview J.T. Solomon, Editor-In-Chief and Publisher of The FIRM Magazine .  Check out what this EXTRAordinary Black Man had to say about his experience as an entrepreneur.

TheBlackManCan: JT, What led you to create The FIRM Magazine?

JTS: Well I had the idea for F.I.R.M. since my Sophomore year at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. I had been a reader of VIBE, The Source, and Black Enterprise for a long time, but I was felt like something was missing. Vibe and The Source had everything you wanted to know in the entertainment world and Black Enterprise had all of your business needs. But I didn’t see why both of them couldn’t be combined to form one publication. So I drafted a business plan for a magazine that would not only entertain my readers, but would educate them on everything they needed to know to help them mentally, physically, and financially prepare for the future. But I put it on the back-burner to pursue my Masters in Publishing at Pace University in New York. After they visited my Shakespeare class at Morehouse to recruit, I had a better understanding of what I needed to do to get this magazine off the ground.

I worked on it a little more in my “Creating a Magazine” class where my professors, Vaughn Benjamin and Betty Rockmore (who also worked in the publishing industry during the day), gave me excellent advice on how to clean-up the business plan draft I had created in college. I learned the publishers role, editorial work-flow, production and distribution, and online publishing at Pace and was ready to put my plan into action. But again, I put it off because of job opportunities after graduating Pace in 2007. I went on to work for Reed Business Information, American Media, and Conde Nast Publications mainly in Production and Distribution.

It was only after getting laid-off in 2009 that I was able to pick my draft back up and fully devote all of my time to making my dream happen. I was confident about my knowledge of the industry and where it was going and now had the experience to back it up. I realized I would have to choose between being comfortable and achieving my dream. I chose to achieve my dream and have been working on F.I.R.M. since then.

TheBlackManCan: Why did you decided to focus on Fashion, Investments, Recreation and Music?

JTS: I decided to focus on Fashion, Investment, Recreation, and Music by accident. It was a great acronym, but it needed to fit what I wanted to accomplish in the magazine. Then I had an epiphany – The things that make most people happy fall under these four categories. Looking good, living good, having fun, and great lyrics and a beat can a big difference in your life. But I wanted the magazine to be more than just entertaining. So in establishing the entertainment side, I also found an opportunity to educate people while they were being entertained.

Fashion for instance is not only about the clothes and trends of today, but also how to wear them. Appearance unfortunately IS everything. From the moment someone meets you ( and sometimes before an introduction), they are subconsciously or consciously forming an opinion about you based on what they see. You want to make sure you make a great first impression and you don’t have to do it by wearing every designer label known to man. You just have to develop your own style and dress for the occasion. Also, I discovered that this was the perfect time to educate all of those people who had an intrest in fashion but may not be model material. Let’s face it; everyone is not a model. But models need clothes, stylists, make-up, and a lot more in order to be the person we see on magazine covers and runways. I feel that through interviews, columns, and editorial pieces, I could reach someone who may have thought their dream of working in the Fashion industry was over simply because they weren’t model material.

When people think of investments, they automatically think of money, but its so much more. I wanted to educate people on the other things they should be investing in like real-estate, credit, friends, time, politics and even their communities. We tend to put these things off in our pursuit of wealth and find that they are tied-in as well. I also wanted to educate those who might want to go into these areas the same way I did for Fashion.

Recreation is another category that covers an array of things such as  food, travel, film/theatre/art, sports and lifestyles. In order to grow we have to expose ourselves to different things. Most people don’t even own a passport. I admit that I have never traveled outside of the United States (but will be doing so soon). i wanted to expose my readers to different cultures, places and things to broaden their scope of the world. We tend to live inside of a bubble; oblivious to the things going on outside of the familiar. after reading recreation, it is my hope that my reader will be exposed to something they didn’t know about before or at least open up to doing new things.

Finally, music is the biggest category. There’s a song for everyone. Unfotunately because of the radio, most people listen to the same songs. There are so many talented artists out there with great music that we dont hear everyday. I wanted to expose my listeners to different music in hopes of broadening their scope on music. I also wanted to take the time to educate thos that are interested in the music industry, but might not be the artist. Not everyone can perform music and not everyone should.  But just because you can’t perform it doesn’t mean you can’t write, produce, or market it. The industry needs songwriters, producers, instrumentalists, and managers as well. Also there are bills like the Performance Rights Act that every artist should know about because it affects their trade, but don’t because they are so focused on the money aspect. I want my readers to get this information from my magazine.

TheBlackManCan: How did you develop a passion for writing?

JTS: To be honest, I was involved in a shooting incident while I was in undergrad. I was a bystander that got hit by a stray bullet. I was angry and didn’t know how to realease the anger about the situation. It happened on campus and i felt like the administration at that time did nothing to help me. I had worked hard to get into Morehouse, paid money I never had to attend (at that time it was only $25,000 a year compared to the $40,000 it costs now), and earned good grades. I wanted to know how it was allowed to happen to me on campus. I had no one to talk to or relate to and writing it out in a notebook became a release for me. I started to write in it everyday, sometimes at the expense of my school work. Then one day after hearing a poem I had written, one of my classmates asked why I was a computer science major instead of an english major? Money was the only reason I was a computer science major. I heard that they got paid and coming from a single-parent struggling household, that was good enough. but after the incident, it wasn’t enough anymore. So I switched my major and have been on this road ever since then.
TheBlackManCan: How has print and online publishing changed over the past few years?

JTS: Some people have said that print is dead. Don’t believe that. People like the feel of a magazine in their hand especially when their battery has ran out. Magazines, unlike newspapers, were not built on a “news now” structure. They started off as ways people could capture timely events and read up on their favorite hobbies and trades. I believe the fall of print magazines had to do with the cost of production and distribution and the intricacies that go into creating cost-cutting plans that will help to get the product out without breaking the publisher/publishing company. Since magazine postage is determined by weight and advertising, big books like Vogue and Interior Design cost a lot of money to be mailed. I think people see now that it is cheaper to create online magazines than it is to create them in print. Also they are much more accessable to a wider range of people which the internet made possible. Some people say that print is dying or dead. I believe that it has only become secondary to the internet. You just have to figure out what the people want and how to deliver it to them. The new generation doesn’t like paper ( me included). It clutters up everything and is not needed with so much access to the internet.
TheBlackManCan: FIRM magazine is geared toward the 21-35 year old demographic, why did you choose this target audience?

JTS: I wanted to target this audience because it is the decision-making and defining period of our lives. It is where obtaining that credit card can affect our ability to purchase a new home. Where wearing the wrong clothes can keep us from landing the right job. Where eating the wrong foods can cause us a lifetime of stress and problems. Where living in a bubble can evoke feelings of regret later down  the road. This demographic is the tipping point of our lives and I believe F.I.R.M. can make the biggest impact at this stage.
TheBlackManCan: How has the growth of social media been important to the growth of FIRM Magazine?

JTS: It’s funny you should ask this because I was just telling someone else that most of the writers I get I have never met or don’t see on a regular basis. In fact, two of my writers in the music department have been working with each other for several months now and have never met each other until I brought them together for an after-work event recently. I interact with them through text, email, Twitter, and Facebook. It has made starting this business easier. I am able to build my brand using Facebook and Twitter and reach people I might not have reached if this magazine was solely in print form. You can hit so many people at the same time without costly marketing which makes things easier. Not to say marketing is not needed, but now you can do most of the initial footwork yourself.
TheBlackManCan: What are your future plans for FIRM magazine?

JTS: I plan to bring F.I.R.M. out in a print version a couple of times a year and also launch a couple of conferences, events, and community initiatives. I got a couple of other things up my sleeve too, but you’ll have to watch and read to find out. Trust me, F.I.R.M. Magazine is going to do publishing in a way that no other magazines have done it before. We are the new face of publishing.
TheBlackManCan: What words of advice would you like to leave for the youth of today?

JTS: Shoot for the stars…and if you miss…get a bigger gun and blast them all out of the sky and take your pick. You have to try a couple of things in order to find the business that works. Don’t be afraid to try something outside of your comfort zone. Listen to advice, but most importantly, listen to yourself. Finally dream big and strive to be the best.

You can reach J.T. Solomon at jt_solomon@firmmagazine.net.

League of EXTRAordinary is where we at TheBlackManCan highlight Black Men who are making positive and remarkable contributions to society. Nominate a Black Male today on the contact page or team@theblackmancan.org

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Style in Transition | From Entry Level to Mid Level

Style in Transition | From Entry Level to Mid Level

Well-Dressed: Grooming and Style

In our latest piece for ESM we discuss the transition from entry level to mid level dressing.  It’s a transition.  We’ll help you get there.

 Corporate-Black-Man

Last month we discussed dressing well even when you can’t afford much.

Dressing on a budget is important, but eventually you will graduate, you will get a promotion, you will get a raise and your budget will grow.

Many of the articles and websites on menswear talk about shopping on a budget, or about acquiring aspirational pieces that most men will never be able to afford.

The men in the middle are the ones left out.

This month we discuss those middle men. The men making more than a little money but less than a lot who want an end to look good. They are transitioning from entry level to mid-level in their career and their wardrobe needs to keep up.

Have a seat and take a listen.

Suits for the Middle Manager

  • Two suits are essential but five suits are better. Wool is great but fabric mixtures are the next level.
  • Buy suits with two buttons or three buttons that roll down to two, peak lapels, with one or two vents. Add a double breasted to the rotation. Keep it classic.
  • Solids and pinstripes are foundational. Try patterns like herringbone, Glen plaid, houndstooth and windowpane. Gray and blue are classics. Mix it up with colored pinstripes and speckled solids outside and colorful linings inside.
  • Step it up with a bold chalk stripe. No reason to blend in with all the other candy stripers.
  • Upgrading to five suits will provide a healthy rotation. Just like shoes your suits need a rest and adding more options will make any man feel his best.

The good news? You don’t need to spend more than $1000 to get a good starting line-up.

 BlackIT Professionals

Shirts and Ties

Seven dress shirts get you through the week. Twelve to fifteen will give a man a handful of proper choices. Ten for two weeks of work, and three to five for a couple weekends.

  • A professional man should keep a crisp folded shirt in his car in case he needs a change headed to happy hour or an afterhour’s affair.
  • Solids and stripes in white and blue are nice. Solids and stripes with contrast collars and/or cuffs are better. Flirt with different collar styles. Add a cutaway and/or a club collar.
  • 100% silk ties are the standard. Look for mixtures in silk/wool, linen/silk, or cashmere/wool. Add a few with texture and/or pattern. A crest tie is good way to show your personality.
  • The four-in-hand is the king of tie knots but it won’t hold up well under a cutaway. Try a double four- in-hand or even a half Windsor which will give you a beefier knot with more heft.
  • Instead of going for slim and trim like the cubicle guy try a tie in a wider width to go with your wider suit lapels and you’ll gain a new level of respect from your subordinates and peers.

Trousers and Belts

Three pairs of trousers of will get you through. Five to seven pairs will get you noticed.

  • Add flannels, cottons, and gabardines in checks, stripes and plaids.
  • You may choose pleats or no pleats depending on your body type and personal taste, but be sure they are meticulously tailored and fit you well
  • Two belts are sufficient. Five belts are sublime.
  • Make them high quality leather, suede, or alligator with sleek buckles that do not draw attention to the waist.
  • To be sure the leather is quality look for the 100% leather or alligator stamp
  • There should be no creases in the leather and it should reform to its original shape after bending

Dress Shoes

Men who are upgrading their wardrobe will invest their money in quality shoes.

  • Two pairs won’t get it done; five to seven are a must.
  • Look for high quality 100% calfskin or suede in Goodyear construction. If cared for properly these will last longer than you.
  • Add shoes with thin soles for the city and thick double soles for the country.
  • Choose a wingtip, whole cut, perforated cap toe, or slit toe blucher and keep them shined and/or brushed.
  • Use shoe trees. They will keep the shape of your shoe and keep your shoes from smelling like, well, your feet.

Underwear and Socks

Actually, more like undershirts. Again, you need at least seven. One for every day of the week.

  • Buy gray. Gray actually looks better under white shirts (as in you can’t even see it) and no one will be able to tell.
  • Skip the plain socks and go with color, pattern and texture. Add stripes, checks, and dots. Look for wool, silk, Egyptian cotton and cashmere. Try colors like purple, bright blue, fire engine red, and yellow.
  • Only buy over-the-calf hosiery as the bare leg should never be seen when a man crosses his legs.

Accessories

This is the extra ten percent. Where most men blend in, a select few stand out. You should be one of the few.

  • A good watch is a must. Stylish men should have three watches. One for work, one for formal attire, and the other for sport.
  • Pocket squares are essential. A good suit is nothing without the proper finishing touch. Look for linen, silk, or cotton.
  • Tie pins, collar bars, cuff links, lapel pins, boutonnières, are all in play. Just don’t wear them all at once. The subtle statement is the best statement.

Transitioning from entry level to mid-level doesn’t need to be difficult but just adding to your wardrobe isn’t good enough.

Numbers without results are nothing. If you’re going to double the size of your wardrobe make sure it’s with quality items that will last you until your next wardrobe upgrade.

Don’t worry, we’ll get to that later.

 

Grant Harris is Owner & Chief Style Consultant at Image Granted, LLC; a Washington, DC based Image Consulting Company dedicated to solving the complex image, style & fashion issues of today’s professional man. Mr. Harris provides private & corporate wardrobe consultations, closet organization, personal shopping & other value-based services for men in need of practical & affordable style advice. Visit Grant at imagegranted.com and follow him on twitter @imagegranted.

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Wardrobe Essentials for College Grads on a Budget

Wardrobe Essentials for College Grads on a Budget

Well-Dressed: Grooming and Style

Congratulations, you’ve graduated from college! Now it’s on to the first interview or your first day on the new job. So what do you wear? Certainly not your favorite game day t-shirt of your college days. And since you have corner office aspirations but you’re working on a corner cubicle budget, these wardrobe essentials are worth the initial investment to start your career off on the right foot.Suits-Starting out you only need two suits in a year-round, 100% worsted wool such as gabardine. Buy suits with two or three buttons, notch lapels, with one or two vents. They should be solid or pinstripe in gray or navy blue. Keep the pinstripes thin and faint. They should not be the focal point of the suit. These two suits are the foundation of any professional man’s closet. They can be worn with every color and more importantly will never go out of style. You can find both of these for $500 or less. Save the double-breasted and peak lapelled suits for when you get your first six-figure check. You’ll need it just to buy one.

 

 

Pinstripe year-round Wool Suit

Shirts and Ties-

You’ll need at least seven dress shirts. Five for the workweek, one for the weekend, and a professional man always keeps one crisp shirt at the office in case of emergencies like spilling coffee on himself. Buy solid or vertically striped shirts in a combination of white and blue. The majority should be white. White shirts coordinate with every color and they can be bought for $40 or less at Nordstrom Rack. Stick to the straight point collar, but feel free to throw in a spread collar for variety. Whatever collar you choose be sure to wear collar stays for the best image.

Keep ties simple and conservative. Buy only 100% silk as they will last longer and look better. Save other fabrics like wool, cotton, and linen for the more advanced dresser. Good options are solids in primary colors, pin dots, regimental stripes, or paisley for some variety. Keep tie knots simple and use the four-in-hand which is suitable for any shirt collar. Today many young professional men may opt for a slimmer tie to accent their slender frame. This is a bit of fashion mixed with style and can be played well. The blade should be no less than three inches wide for the office and stick with simple colors and minimal embellishments. Quality slim ties can be had for $15.

 

Trousers and Belts-

Buy three pairs of trousers in solid gray, navy blue and black. Again, look for 100% worsted wool. You may choose pleats or no pleats depending on your body type and personal taste, but be sure they are meticulously tailored and fit you well. These pants should be versatile enough to be worn at the office or at happy hour.

You only need two belts in solid black and brown. Make them both high quality leather with sleek buckles that do not draw attention to the waist. To be sure the leather is quality look for the 100% leather stamp or bend the belt back and forth. There should be no creases in the leather and it should reform to its original shape.

Footwear-

Men who care about their wardrobe will invest their money in quality shoes. You only need two pairs; one in black and one in a brown. Be sure both are high quality 100% leather, thin soled, and simple. Choose an oxford, cap toe, or wingtip and keep them shined. Stay away from fancy embellishments as they will only add to the cost of the shoe and make you look like you are trying too hard. Avoid square toe, rubber soled shoes. They wear out quickly and only make you look like a new grad instead of a seasoned professional. Get free shipping both ways on quality shoes at Zappos.com.

Underwear and Socks-

Actually, more like undershirts. Again, you need at least seven. One for every dress shirt you own. Keep them white; short sleeved and 100% cotton. Buy a few v-necks to keep you cooler during the summer and they look better than a crew neck under an open collared dress shirt. Wal-Mart is a great option.

Keep socks dark and plain. Only buy over-the-calf hosiery as the bare leg should never be seen when a man crosses his legs. Socks should be the same color as your suit or close to it. This will elongate your leg and create a seamless transition from foot to trouser. Buy 100% cotton or a natural fiber blend so your feet don’t sweat like the Sahara. Find some at Marshalls.

 

Citizen Leather Watch

Accessories-

Accessories should be kept to a minimum, but every well-dressed man needs a watch. It will set you apart from the iPhone carrying crowd that only reads a digital clock on a touch screen. Show some old-world class and strap on a watch. Keep it thin in a leather or stainless steel band and avoid digital faces at all costs. Citizen is a quality brand with style that will last until you can buy that Rolex with your big promotion.

Intangibles-

No matter how well a man is dressed it doesn’t account for the intangibles. Smile a lot, shake hands firmly, respect your co-workers and superiors, show up on time, and put 100% into everything you do. If the college grad follows these simple principles his wardrobe won’t be the only thing the boss remembers when bonus time comes around.

 

Grant Harris is Owner & Chief Style Consultant at Image Granted, LLC; a Washington, DC based Image Consulting Company dedicated to solving the complex image, style & fashion issues of today’s professional man. Mr. Harris provides private & corporate wardrobe consultations, closet organization, personal shopping & other value-based services for men in need of practical & affordable style advice. Visit Grant at imagegranted.com and follow him on twitter @imagegranted.

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12 Ways to Dress Better Than the Next Guy

12 Ways to Dress Better Than the Next Guy

Well-Dressed: Grooming and Style

Dressing shouldn’t be a competition.  Every man has his own individual style and dressing well isn’t a boyhood race to see who can tie the best tie or wear the shiniest shoes.  However, there are several ways to look better than the next guy without trying hard at all.  All you have to do is follow this advice:

1. Wear a tie – When you don’t have to that is.  A tie — whatever the material or width — automatically steps an outfit up a notch.  Wear one with jeans on the weekend when the next guy is in a polo.

2. Shine your shoes – Take 20 minutes on a Saturday afternoon and polish your dress shoes.  You’ll notice (so will the ladies) your co-worker Monday morning with a dull hue on his toe while you’ll be sparkling.

3. Tuck in your shirt – When you don’t have to that is.  You may sense a recurring theme here.  Doing something when you don’t have to immediately puts you on a different level.  Tuck in your shirt at the club when every other guy has it hanging out.

4. Wear collar stays - Too many men walk around with their collar flying up.  If a man can’t control his collar how will he control his environment?

5. Wear shorter jacket sleeves - 90% of men wear their jacket sleeves too long and end up looking like a juvenile child in a garment that doesn’t fit.  Tell your tailor you want at least 1/2 inch of shirt cuff to show with your arms at yours sides.

6. Wear your pant legs shorter - Another theme.  Men wear their pants entirely too baggy.  Pants are meant to hang with a break…not in layers.  If you’re tall go for a slight break. If you’re short go no break at all.

7. Wear a dimple - Wear a dimple in your tie and you’ll be two steps ahead of the other guy.  No tie is tied correctly without it.  Stick your finger in the middle under the knot just before tightening it.  Quality fabric will mold to your dimple after a while and it will be easier to create.

8. Brighten up your socks - Most men know to wear socks the same color as their pants.  This is fine for the boardroom, but it’s OK to break the mold sometimes.  Wear colorful, striped, and even argyle socks.  Show your creative side.

9.  Wear a pocket square - Add a hint of playfulness and imagination.  Their is a pocket in your suit jacket for a reason, so use it.   Pocket squares — like socks — are an extension of yourself.  Be imaginative and wear different folds and colors.  Just don’t match it with your tie.

10. Open Pandora’s box - The box stitch, I mean.  This is the closed box found at the end of the vent in your suit jacket and outerwear.  It’s meant to hold the vent shut before wearing but it is NOT permanent. Too many men wear their garment with the box stitch still closed.  This is either a lack of attention to detail or an overall lack of sartorial knowledge – or both.

11. Say please - No matter what you’re wearing or how much it cost it won’t matter a shit if you don’t know how and when to say please.

12.  Say thank you - See number 11.

Grant Harris is Owner & Chief Style Consultant at Image Granted, LLC; a Washington, DC based Image Consulting Company dedicated to solving the complex image, style & fashion issues of today’s professional man. Mr. Harris provides private & corporate wardrobe consultations, closet organization, personal shopping & other value-based services for men in need of practical & affordable style advice. Visit Grant at imagegranted.com and follow him on twitter @imagegranted.

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