style

Well-Dressed: Style Advice | “To Tie For” ~ Necktie Necessities

Well-Dressed: Style Advice | “To Tie For” ~ Necktie Necessities

Well-Dressed: Grooming and Style

In the recent issue of the AICI Global Magazine,  we had the pleasure of authoring a piece on neckties.   We discuss color and pattern, length and width, fabric and function, and add some additional tips every man should know.  Take heed and stay stylish.

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Founded by Grant Harris in 2009, Image Granted, LLC is a Washington, DC based image consulting company dedicated to solving the complex image, style & fashion issues of today’s professional man. Image Granted helps individual and corporate clients attract, attain, & retain their best image through value-based products and services.  Your image…Granted!

 

Style isn’t just about clothes. It’s about life. It’s about LIFEstyle. Through years of speaking, presenting, writing, and consulting with men of different ages, professions, cultural backgrounds, and wardrobe levels, Image Granted is the link between menswear and business in DC and beyond.

 

Image Granted is respected by industry authorities and integral part of the fashion community domestic and abroad.  Grant has been featured in several international publications such as The Wall Street Journal, TIME Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, CNN,  AOL, Men’s Health and others.   Mr. Harris is also a regular contributor to several men’s lifestyle resources.  You can follow Image Granted on Twitter and Facebook.

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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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League of EXTRAordinary Black Men: Denzel McColley

League of EXTRAordinary Black Men: Denzel McColley

League Of Extraordinary Black Men

I dare you to change your mindset, change the way you think. You just might be the person God has picked to cure AIDS, cancer, or create world peace. Tap into your Greatness and Dare to be Different! ~Denzel McColley

I dare you to change your mindset, change the way you think. You just might be the person God has picked to cure AIDS, cancer, or create world peace. Tap into your Greatness and Dare to be Different! ~Denzel McColley

TheBlackManCan is making its way back to the state of New Jersey to bring you another EXTRAordinary Black Men. We bring to you a Black Man that once he figured out that his own success was within him he maximized his potential.  We proudly present Denzel McColley founder of Peculiar Knots. Denzel sits down with TheBlackManCan to discuss Peculiar Knots, his childhood, building a spiritual foundation and advice for young Black Males.

TheBlackManCan: Denzel, tell us how Camden, NJ helped make you who you are today?

DM: The city of Camden has influenced me in several ways. This city showed me toughness as well as how to think as an entrepreneur. Growing up around drug dealers that drove nice vehicles and wearing nice clothes, I was quite confused. I was taught that if you do bad things, bad things will happen but good things were happening to the drug dealers. I have a beautiful mother that always told me to stay away from drugs and alcohol. I’m glad to say I never sold or did drugs before. However I still wanted that “success” the drug dealers had. As a young child, I figured there has to be another way to get that success but also have my self-respect. I often went to the library in Camden, and did my research on successful people. I studied their path to success. I will never forget the city that I came from.

TheBlackManCan: You wear a dog tag everyday with the words “Camden, NJ is your past. What’s your future?” What does that mean to you? How does it serve as your motivation?

DM: My uncle gave this dog tag to me before he passed away. The day he gave it to me, he told me that I was better than my environment and that something great was in me, I just have to tap into it. Every time I look at the dog tag, I reflect on where I have been and where I’m currently trying to go. The dog tag serves as my motivation, because I’m still not at the level of success I want to be at. My family still lives in the city, so there is more work I have to do. The dog tag has also kept me humble and thankful for my blessings, because I know things could be worse.

TheBlackManCan: How has motivational speaker Eric Thomas had an impact on you?

DM: Words cannot express the impact his speeches have had on my life. I have a playlist on my iphone with majority of Mr. Thomas’s speeches; I listen to them when I’m going to sleep and when I’m driving. I used to listen to a lot of hip hop but I realized it was only putting negative thoughts into my mind. I switched over to motivational speeches and found Eric Thomas on YouTube. Since that day, I have read his book and listened to his weekly motivational speeches. I also had the chance to meet him in-person at Rowan University and we exchange numbers, I talk to him time-to-time.

TheBlackManCan: What ignited the spark for you to start Peculiar Knots?

DM: My friend and I were talking one day, and we were talking about bowties. We realize that we had an actual “gift” with making custom bowties. My friend asked, do you believe we can make this company into a successful one? My answer to him was “I think we have million dollar company here.” I did some research on bowties, found out that $850 million dollar of bowties was sold in 2012, so we knew there was a market out there. My friend did not go college so he asked me to handle the business side of it. We are looking to take our company global.

: It is extremely important for Black Men and Boys to see positive images of themselves because often what we see, is what we try to duplicate.  ~Denzel McColley

: It is extremely important for Black Men and Boys to see positive images of themselves because often what we see, is what we try to duplicate. ~Denzel McColley

TheBlackManCan: Why did you decided on the name Peculiar Knots? 

DM: Peculiar knots expresses what our bowties represent. They are different! Majority of our bowties are not like normal bowties you would see in Macy’s or JCPenny’s. Especially in fashion, people like to be different, so we figure if they saw the name “Peculiar Knots”, that they will know that our bowties will be different than anything they ever saw before.

TheBlackManCan: There is a social responsibility side to Peculiar Knots. Can you tell us more about how you give back through Peculiar Knots?

DM: One of our slogans is “Changing the World One Bowtie at a Time”. I had the chance to meet with Mark Turner, CEO of WSFS Bank. WSFS bank is the number one bank in Delaware. We had coffee together one morning, he told me to be a successful entrepreneur you must be a servant to the world. What I took from that conversation was to always think of how I can better my community and the world from my projects. With the bowties, once a customer places an order and we asked them which charity would they would like their money to go too. We sponsor three charities at this time, Children Cancer Research, HIV Awareness and Animal Charities of America. Once our revenue increase to a certain amount we will set a scholarship funds for students from Camden, New Jersey that plan to go to college.

TheBlackManCan: What does it mean to be Well Dressed to you? How do we get more young men to embrace the idea of being well dressed?

DM: Being well-dressed, especially in the black community, is just wearing your pants at your waist and not sagging. A person can be well dressed with some jeans and nice shirt. It’s about how you carry yourself. When I was a child and all I had to wear some cheap jeans and shirts, I still took time to iron my clothes and wear belt. I did not have nice clothes at the time but I still wore my clothes as if I was wearing a tailor-made suit.

We can get young men to embrace the idea of being well-dressed by showing them that it is a sign of success. A lot of young people want to be rich and famous. When they look at television they are not watching CNN but instead watching other images such as music videos, that is giving a false representation of success. We have to show young men that being well dressed can indeed take you places. I truly believe first impression means everything.

The dog tag has also kept me humble and thankful for my blessings, because I know things could be worse.  ~ Denzel McColley

The dog tag has also kept me humble and thankful for my blessings, because I know things could be worse. ~ Denzel McColley

TheBlackManCan: Why is it important to build a spiritual foundation? How has it helped you?

DM:  It’s simple: “God 1st Everything After”. I grew up as a Christian, and every morning and every night when I pray I give thanks to God. God, and God alone is the only reason why I’m alive today. God’s grace and mercy has been poured into my life and I’m forever grateful for that. It is so important to have that spiritual foundation because without God, life is empty and unsatisfying. Once, I truly put God first in my life, doors were opening up for me that I didn’t know was there. I believe even the bowties are a vision from God. My favorite bible verse is Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” That verse speaks over my life!

TheBlackManCan: Where do you see yourself and Peculiar Knots in the next five years?

DM: In all honesty I see Peculiar Knots being a muti-million dollar company, selling bowties all over the world. Once we can get a good marketing plan in place, I know that the world will fall in love with our designs. I also see our bowties being worn by celebrities. Our bowties will be featured in Oprah’s Magazine and fashion magazines across the world. We are currently working on a bowtie for President Barack Obama. We just hope that we will be able to give to him in some way.

It is so important to have that spiritual foundation because without God, life is empty and unsatisfying. Once, I truly put God first in my life, doors were opening up for me that I didn’t know was there. ~ Denzel McColley

It is so important to have that spiritual foundation because without God, life is empty and unsatisfying. Once, I truly put God first in my life, doors were opening up for me that I didn’t know was there. ~ Denzel McColley

TheBlackManCan: Why is it important for Black Men and Boys to see positive images of themselves?

DM: It is extremely important for Black Men and Boys to see positive images of themselves because often what we see, is what we try to duplicate. Especially young black men, that watch basketball, they soon begin to have NBA dreams and shy from other opportunities. If young men were expose more to people like Farrah Gray, Jay Morrison, or even a Eric Thomas, then they will see a road with several opportunities.

TheBlackManCan: What words of advice do you have for young black men of today?

DM: With Travon Martin incident passing by, I think young black men need to know that it is time! It is time for us to stop being pushed around. We have gifts and we have talents, it is time for the world to see them. Just like with the bowties, find something you are good at, practice until you are a master at it. Once you become the master of something, the world is yours. Also to young black men, I DARE you to put down the music and basketball, and to pick up a book and read it from page one to the end. There are some of you out there with a gift that could potentially change the world, but you are scared to try it because it’s not the “cool thing”. I dare you to change your mindset, change the way you think. You just might be the person God has picked to cure AIDS, cancer, or create world peace. Tap into your Greatness and Dare to be Different!

Like Peculiar Knots on Facebook-> https://www.facebook.com/PeculiarKnots

Follow Peculiar Knots on Twitter-> https://twitter.com/PeculiarKnots

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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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Cost versus Quality | What to Choose

Cost versus Quality | What to Choose

Well-Dressed: Grooming and Style

 

We routinely speak with our friends and fellow menswear enthusiasts in other parts of the world to get their insight into the retail aspect of clothing in their region.  This can be anywhere from Hong Kong to Australia, to Spain to the Caribbean.
Recently we’ve been speaking with sources in Trinidad and it seems that there is a large gap between the good and the bad on the market.  Either its a heavy dose of crap or else its high end couture, which leaves no middle ground.  the dilemma is where do men in the middle shop if they want quality pieces that will last with dropping a mortgage payment, or are they reduced to wearing less than bespoken for items in the effort to save money only to turn around and have to purchase those same items again a few months down the road. Its a quandary.

To put it in perspective our resource in Trinidad went on a research mission returned the following prices on some staple items.  The original price is quoted in US dollars.  The Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TTD) is currently trading at 6.2 times the US dollar. We’ve multiplied the US equivalent by the current currency rate to come up with the total equivalent in US dollars.  On first glance the original price is not out of the ordinary.  It’s when the value is converted to TTD that you realize the US equivalent is astronomical in some instances.

Low End Dark Denim Jeans – $35 X 6.2 = $217 USD

High End Dark Denim Jeans – $80 and up X 6.2 = $496 USD

Chinos – $35 X 6.2 = $217 USD
Low End Shirts – $64 X 6.2 = 396 USDHigh End Shirts – $134 upward X 6.2 = $830 USDLow End Suits – $64 X 6.2 = $396 USD

High End Suits – $323 and up X 6.2 = $2002 USD

Low End Shoes – $48 X 6.2 = $297 USD

High End Shoes – $323 and up X 6.2 = $2002 USD
So what is a middle class income earner to do if they don’t want to buy crap but can’t afford the best of the best?  As we’ve always preached a house is built from the ground up and so is the same for your wardrobe.  We recommend putting the most money you can afford into quality footwear.  The best suit in the world is no longer the best suit in the world if it is draped over the worst shoes in the world.  Most men skimp on shoes and therefore end up buying several more pair a year than they should.  If they bought quality shoes in a Goodyear construction they could have them last years over. After shoes we recommend buying quality outerwear.  Fortunately a bad shirt can be covered up with a good jacket and a bad jacket can be covered up with a nice top coat, rain coat, etc.  If your shirt doesn’t fit quite that well or its of lesser quality then a good jacket can make up for it.  After acquiring quality outerwear then you can invest in high quality shirting.Besides investing in the actual product we highly recommend saving money or at least budgeting for good tailoring.  This is a common oversight for many men.  Wearing a lesser quality shirt that is tailored well will put to shame a higher quality shirt that is not tailored well.  Same with trousers, jackets, and well anything else you wear.  buy the best shoes, outerwear, and shirts you can afford, then spend the rest on tailoring.

 

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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Breaking Down Breakfast in Style

Breaking Down Breakfast in Style

Well-Dressed: Grooming and Style

style q and a 1

 

Christopher asks - What is acceptable breakfast meeting attire? Should one stick to an all business look or is business casual acceptable in building stronger relationships with your client or “closing the deal”?

Breakfast may the least serious of business meetings but that doesn’t mean it should be taken less seriously. This question actually hits home as we recently had a morning meeting and much of this analysis is based on personal experience. Your attire for a morning meal should be just as thoughtfully planned and skilfully crafted as in any other meeting. It may be true the most deals are made over lunch and/or dinner but those conversations that lead to those deals may begin at the breakfast table and you should be prepared. As we’ve said in the past, business isn’t casual, so why dress casual for business?

 

Aside from the obvious that your wardrobe should be clean, well fitted and in good repair, there are a few considerations to keep in mind that differ from your other meetings.

Time – Most establishments serve breakfast before 11am which means you’ll be up early. An important consideration is that not everyone is a morning person. Some people don’t like loud noises or light, or aggressive stimulation. Or they may be recovering from a long night prior and haven’t had time to adjust like they would if it were a mid-day or evening meeting. Take this into account with your wardrobe. Loud and bright colors may be jarring and difficult to absorb early in the morning.

Flashy accessories may be too harsh for the viewer if they haven’t had their morning coffee. We suggest you stick with sober patterns and a muted color palette to avoid the distraction and potential physical pain for the person across the table.

Location – Many breakfast locales come in the form of diners or waffle houses and the like. Few traditional restaurants serve breakfast alone which means that the space in which you’re meeting may be a bit tight compared to the sprawling ambience of a palatial restaurant. While diners and breakfast houses have their down home charm, they don’t offer the comfort and tranquility of a premiere evening establishment.  Bearing this in mind, the space may be a bit smaller than you’re used to, the environment a bit more rustic and the adjustment period a bit longer. Don’t make it harder on yourself by wearing your $3000 suit. Try something more passive than aggressive.

Etiquette – Whether you’re meeting for breakfast or any other meal your manners should still be intact. However, your manners at breakfast may need to be more accommodating than at another time. For instance many people take medication on a timetable and that time may be during the first meal of the day. If your counterpart needs to take a few vitamins or medication to start their day, you should be accomodating and give them the time and space  to tend to their health needs. Also, since it is a morning meeting alcohol should be avoided lest you come across as lush.

Attire – These are our recommendations for fit, fabric and function at the basic minimum level when it comes to a morning meeting in any global location with any clientele you may encounter.

Fabrics – Worsted wool, Cotton, Hopsack, Gabardine, Cashmere, Silk, Flannel

Suits – 2 or 3 buttons, single breasted, 1 or 2 vents, notch lapel, flap pockets. Solid, chalkstripe, tonal, Birdseye, nailhead.

Jackets – 2 or 3 buttons, single breasted, 1 or 2 vents, notch lapel, flap or patch pockets. Solid, soft stripe, tonal, Birdseye, nailhead, barelycorn.

Shirts – Point, semi spread, or button down collar. Barrel cuff. Solid, Bengal stripe, tonal. White or blue.

Ties – Knit, woven, printed. Solid, paisley, repp stripe, pin dot. Single or double four-in-hand knot.  Silver, navy, bottle green, burgundy, black.

Sweaters – Standard collar cardigan, v-neck, crew neck, sweater vest. Solid, tonal herringbone. Blue/navy, gray, brown, green, burgundy.

Trousers – Flat front or pleats (forward or reverse depending on preference) plain or cuffed bottoms (depending on preference) Navy, gray, brown.

Socks – Over the calf in similar color to trousers or complimenting tie. Solid, ribbed, pin dot, Birdseye.

Shoes – Smooth calfskin, suede or cordovan. Open laced derby/blucher or Chukka boot. Brown or brown.

Outerwear – Single breasted notch lapel, 3 button, single vent driving coat, topcoat, overcoat, or raincoat. Solid, Birdseye, herringbone in gray, navy, brown

Accessories – Leather or suede belt in same color family as shoes. Thin leather or metal wrist watch in same color family as belt. Card case or bifold wallet. Ballpoint or fountain pen. Collar stays. Aviator or caravan sunglasses. Polarized, Non-mirror lenses. Reading glasses. Pocket square in solid color preferably white cotton or linen in conservative fold.

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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