Monday, November 30, 2009

Summer essential: Knit tie

For the longest time I remember as a kid going through my father's belt and tie collection and always seeing these really soft, clothy like ties. I didn't know what they were at the time especially because my father seldom wore them. This was even funnier because every time he sent me to fetch a belt for a thrashing I'd always see the same tie. I'm talking about a knit tie. A must have in any gentleman's summer wardrobe.

I just the love the tie, it's design, the feel, the fit, the length, when tied right, it is quite versatile and seems to do a good job of complementing a shirt and ultimately one's outfit. Everyone of my bargain hunting discoveries are always immersed in a story, so with regards to the knit tie, here goes:

I was walking from a pc zone stall at the market when my eyes happened to catch a glimpse of a sign that read 'second hand clothing'. That alone made me give it a second look. This place was a small nook which couldn't fit more than 10 people at a time. Outside hanging on the railing were 3 hangers with a large stash of ties. I just had to walk towards the ties and rummage through them to find something that would interest me. I was not interested until I ran into one knit tie. And then I just had to keep searching until I had 3. The navy one featured in this post, a deep red, and, a burgundy and mustard one. Not to mention I was quite pleased with myself because I once again lived up to the 'King of Bargains' title I profess to hold. I only paid R2 a pop.

Since it's a Monday and dress up day for going to work I decided to feature the navy knit tie. And herewith below a few more examples:

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

You be the judge

How does a look so well put together get so much criticism...? From people I feel have little to no knowledge about men's style. As I got out of my car at my workplace I happened to run into 3 female colleagues who were on their smoke break. They all said that I looked good and well put together although one thing was missing and according to them, conspicuously. A belt.

I won't go into detail about the jokes they made which hinted to male sexual performance as well. However they all unanimously agreed that I had made a huge fashion faux pas by omitting a belt. I then explained to them that going belt-less was a new look I was going with especially because it is so unconventional but acceptable by perfect gentleman standards. Please believe this did not deter them from continuing to berate me and lament at how I had transgressed a classic style rule.

I am very much a fan of going belt-less to such an extent that I have taken a few of my pants to my tailor for reduction at the waist. I better not gain any fat.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Best Dressed

Yep, all I can do is salute right back. Ditto. Right back at you. Only one word to describe the ensemble: impeccable. I have a year end staff party coming up this week and because of the lacklustre response from the invitees I somewhat feel like not going or if I do go, not put in much effort in dressing up for the event. However this man, Shawn Carter, in his ultra, uber stylish tuxedo has changed my mind totally.

This is definitely not over-dressed, especially for a Sunday night. I think his style was definitely apt for a place like Los Angeles. You have to come out in your Sunday best, on a Sunday. You might never know who could be watching or taking pics. This man has evolved in many ways and taking nothing away from all this other achievements but, his dress sense has seen the most and best change ever. He inspires me in that regard.

This tux is beautiful on so many levels. It's a velvet, shawl collar tux jacket, with a safety pin ornament on the lapel. Complemented with a velvet bow tie, on a crisp white tux shirt with glazed black buttons. What I can't define though is the buttoning up part of the jacket. It looks like two mini elasticated ropes on either side of the jacket and it's stylish in a way that adds even more panache. There has to be a correct term for it however.

And if you're wondering where this was, what function or event..?

This has taught me a lesson in never shying away from looking my best. That's what I'm going to strive for going forward. A whole lot of effort coupled with the extra mile.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Without this shoe your 'robe is incomplete

Ok, was channeling Sisqo there for a lil' bit, that 'Incomplete' song. I digress though. My summer wardrobe is incomplete without a loafer. It is the quintessential summer shoe for any style conscious man. For me the summer of '09 is going to be less about sneakers and more about loafers, slip-ons and driving shoes. At the moment I have 3 pairs of driving shoes, a grey pair, tan and bright blue. I have to cease with them and start getting into loafers, like the one's my dad used to wear. Burgundy with tassles. Now that's classy.

There is a pair I saw at a men's store called Mister NAT in Durban. It was a black, tassled pair by Johnston and Murphy going for R800. Quite affordable especially considering the retro classic elegance of J & M. However while on one of my bargain hunting trips a few weeks ago I saw a pair of black tassled loafers at IDEALS going for R200. Now that is going to be my December shoe which I am going to debut in the first week of December. The official start of summer in South Africa.

For me loafers go best with shorts, shorts just above the knee or mid-thigh. They also complement jeans that are cuffed or have a high cuff. Complete the look with a golfer or a casual shirt and you have the summer look down to a tee. Don't get me wrong though a loafer can be dressed up as well. Although I don't like the loafer with a suit with or without socks look. The look does work but with me it would take a lot of convincing to go with it. Below are some of my favourites:

They come in different shades, styles and designs however their purpose never changes and that's to loaf around.

Tyr them out this summer and you'll be happy that you did because this is sheer comfort. Happy LOAFING.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

You be the judge

It was a little chilly for a spring day yesterday and I decided to go to church in some bright but warm fabrics. I guess you can tell from the jacket that it is quite heavy set. Anyway I actually wanted to get everyones opinion on how the outfit looks and it's presentation.

First off, I'm not happy with the length of the pants, especially since they have a turn-up. I like them with a turn up and just resting on the top of the shoe. The shirt is another thing. From my GQ best dressed post you would be able to deduce that I am big on fit. If it doesn't hang right then I know I'm not going to feel right in it. The shirt collar for me was a little loose and this comes from losing weight. What I don't understand though is why the shirt sleeve has gotten shorter. It is my size shirt but for some reason the shirt sleeve doesn't even make a peek under the jacket. For me, no cuff is naf. The shirt colour was also a challenge. I initially wanted to go with a white shirt because I felt it would off-set the all the colours but I mostly wanted to highlight the orange tie.

It was a different story when I got to church though, I was getting compliments from most of the guys, especially based on my colour scheme. I wasn't too confident in this get-up so...

You be the judge.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Friday, November 13, 2009

There's Fashion Forward then there's Fashion Foolish - Cooking Beetroot

When I was kid, growing up, I remember the ardous process that cooking beetroot was. My mother would send me to the shops and I'd come back with the beetroot, still intact, from the leaves to the bulbs. I'd bring it back home, cut the leaves off and boil it in a pot. After some time we'd take the beetroot out, let it cool off, peel the skin off, grate it into a dish. Then we'd add a little sugar, vinegar and then place in the fridge until serving time.

It's 2009, ohhh...!!! Stuff aint like that no more. Now, you go to your local store and you don't find beetroot like what I described above. It's already cooked, seasoned and packaged, ready for consumption. None of the culinary red tape that mother and I used to go through. You probably asking yourself what this story has to do with men's style..? Well...

For the life of me I don't understand how this kind of shirt can be appealing to any man. Are we so lazy that we now have our sleeves rolled up for us...? This shirt is a definite no-no for me. Just don't even think about wearing it in my presence because it's just a bad idea. I don't understand the rationale behind the design of such a shirt. I wouldn't be caught dead wearing it. I know about adventurous and pushing the envelope BUT this is just wrong.

Now you know why everybody hates Chris.

On a final note, for all my basketballers I have to put you on to Stephen Curry's rookie blog at where he breaks down his day to day goings on and what it's like to be a professional basketballer.

pic courtesy of GQ

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

It's Spring going on Summer, lighten up

Ever since I took being a well dressed gent to heart, seriously, I find myself obsessing over clothes. That sounds way feminine. But no, seriously, I find myself thinking of ways that I can expand and vary my wardrobe. For instance, I've been thinking of getting pocket squares in an array of bright colours because the season(s) right now dictate so. I'm wearing a pair of burgundy lace-ups today with fawn pants with stripes. I thought I'd go with a woven belt with burgundy on it BUT it clashed heavily with my pants, so I decided to go belt-less. Did I want to go belt-less, NO, but I had to because I haven't gotten around to buying myself a burgundy belt. It's the little things I need to pay attention to if I am to coast through this journey called being a stylish gent.

I love spring and summer, they are seasons that coax one into experimenting with colours and pushing the envelope when it comes to style. I am ready for the challenge and have committed myself to tackle the job head-on. Therefore without much further ado let me introduce you to lulemon and their take on this year's colours for spring and summer:

I can already tell that tan, alarming and taupe are colours that I will definitely invest in. However this is an just an overview as to what it is you can get for yourself and experiment with. I mean 'octopus' sounds very nautical and 'greaser' as the name sugests oily and 'dirty'. The thing about colour is that it adds variety and cannot be boxed in.

This is only but a glimpse of the colours that are available for spring and summer. Take your time and browse through the site and in the process acquaint and align yourself with your tastes and preferences. more thing by lighten up I definitely am not talking about skin bleaching and lightening creams. Some people like Sammy Sosa have gone a bit too far and taken 'lighten' literally.

                                                            pics courtesy of Yahoo

Wishing you a colourful, splendid and bright spring and summer.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Threads In-Expensive

Part of why I started this blog is to dispel the myth that style is money. Not necessarily. It pains me to see a well-off gent, draped in designer brands head to toe and the whole look looks disheveled. I mean, if you can afford expensive taste in clothes why not invest some of your money in a stylist...? After all stylists are touted as people who know the trends in fashion and do their best to keep their clientele abreast with said trends. PG, however, is for the man on the street, the young professional, the hip-hop head who won't let go of the baggy jeans and hoodies, the style-less job seeker, etc. This is for men who feel confused by what it entails to build a wardrobe that is befitting the modern gentleman, where to start, how to accessorise, how to layer and how to finish off a look.

I don't have a stylist, I go by what I see in the media but I'm guided mostly by the fact that I know myself and therefore can never really make a mistake when it comes to my dress sense. I looked good in baggy jeans, white t-shirt and fitted cap, thats just not me anymore. The transition to stylish gentleman has been stop and go and not smooth at all and will always be a learning process. I'm glad however to state that I know what my taste is and that's what I'm sticking to.

The purpose of this post is to show you how I put together a presentable look for the workplace and the cost involved. I tell anyone that is willing to listen that 'I am the King of Bargains'. I am extremely economical when it comes to clothes shopping. I pay much more for shoes because they have to be top quality. All it takes really is a little patience in finding the right stores with your taste in clothes and more importantly within your price range. Breaking the bank over clothes is never a good look. A little luck also helps because you're bound to find a piece that is your size and is the only one left in a very serendipitous way. Now how fortuitous could that be.

If you have put in some effort in your dress on a particular day and feel good about it then that's all that matters. However for the perfect gentleman your style has to have conformed to dress rules. What you see below are some pieces I put together for a very little amount in terms of cost. Hope you can draw some inspiration from it. Note that since it is spring I have shifted to lighter colours, shades and fabrics.

(click on the images to enlarge pics)

White Giorgio shirt - Queenspark R150
Light gray double pleat pants (Part of a suit I don't like anymore) - Easywear R250
Patterned navy blue Austin Manor slim tie - J.A.M R5
Fun socks - Fashion fusion R15
Black Polo wing tips - Blue Dot R500
Horse shoe tie bar - Thrift store R15

Gentlemen I urge you, wherever you are, check out thrift shops, factory shops, hit up clearance sales, end of season sales, etc and you will surely find pieces that you can start to build your wardobe.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Monday, November 9, 2009

GQ SA: Best dressed men of the year 2009

Every year GQ magazine South Africa has its ‘Best dressed men of the year’. This is a list I always look forward to because it’s good to know and see which men in our country embody style through dress. For the 5 years that this list has been running I have at times been in awe and simultaneously cringed at some of the selections. In fact in preparation for this review I went to my archives and browsed through the GQ magazines from the past years just to see who the past selections were, how they were presented and whether, in my opinion, they were worthy of being on the list.

. I really think the editorial has been somewhat lacklustre in their presentation of the best dressed list because at its inception it came in a separate, tear out supplement. This was very much welcomed by me because it meant there were more pictures and the accompanying write ups were thorough and in-depth. Over the years I feel like not much effort has been put into the pictorials and written pieces, so much so that this year there are pictures, only, of the top 10 and the rest are mere names. Another startling fact is that the list has been trimmed from 50 to 40 since 2006. I digress though and leave my qualms behind and turn my focus on the present list.

Here is my breakdown of the top 10:

1. Jon-Paul Bolus : Comfort is very key in and with any outfit. This man looks, not only, comfortable, but cool and thus naturally, de rigueur. His combination of denim and leather is nothing original however the addition of a tie is what transforms his get-up from casual to business casual. The fit is once again important and he has managed to make sure everything fits, even the denim shirt collar so that the tie could sit properly. To his credit he is the owner of what is, I presume, a men’s clothing store which means he is always dressed for the job, everyday.

2. Olé Ledimo: The man is a fashion designer and founder of House of Olé, therefore he absolutely he has no choice but to represent. He does this in a faintly sequined black notch lapel tuxedo, a white fitted French cuff shirt and bow tie, all designed by him. A black pocket square is keeping within black tie rules however I would’ve gone with something a little more colourful. Nothing beats white with a black trimming. The real reason why he gets high marks from me is the fact that any time I see a black sequined suit, I can’t help but think back to the time I first saw one, Luther Vandross ‘Superstar until you come back to me’ video.

3. Sandile Msimango: You know for a visibly young guy I would expect him to play around and experiment with colours especially as an expression or outlet. Albeit well proportioned in his suit I find the black and white extremely dull and boring. What stands out for me though are his accessories. Multi-coloured pocket hanky, red cufflinks and the black knit tie with red trimming at the bottom. How’s that for coordination. My essential for this summer is definitely a knit tie, I absolutely love them. They are versatile, stand out and definitely grab attention. Now if I can just find a store that carries them.

  4. Sizwe Dhlomo: The kid is well groomed, cleans up nice but he doesn’t belong on this list, not yet anyway. Once again a young guy clad in black. Why reinvent the colour black when Yaphet Kotto already did that. Although not fitted, I like the contrast colour shirt but its pairing with such a wide tie is off, especially taking into consideration that the shirt’s collar is tied down with a pin. My suggestion, because he is a young guy why not have him in a two button single breast suit of a lighter hue, and a complementary slim tie. That would definitely bring out his youthful exuberance.

5. Mark De Mendez: He’s a rocker, a drummer specifically, very atypical in his appearance but looks at ease and comfortable. I absolutely love the gingham shirt and slim tie. They go very well together and it is a look I have yet to try even though I have both pieces. The black jeans form the core of the outfit because it is from there that the top part is added. The grey cardigan is a wonderful piece to add because it breaks the black monotony and is a great contrast to the black. I’m not too sure about the un-tucked shirt though. Not really a fan of the peek-a-boo anymore.

6. Thabang Skwambane: Another brother in black. Pin stripe is one of my favourite patterns and when put together right makes me the boldest of statements. The centre piece of this outfit, the red tie, just seems off. It’s a shade of red but it looks so dull. As a power tie it really lacks the kick and power it is supposed to exude. A French cuff shirt would also add a touch of elegance which is sorely lacking. Mr. Skwambane might hate me for this but his belt is a definite no-no for me. Not only is the solid buckle chunky but I definitely don’t want to know that it’s by Fabiani. Something more subtle would do the trick or not so subtle, like going belt-less. 

7. Tshepo Molale: I have no qualms about his belt, very understated but perfect for the outfit. His shirt, crisp white and forms the necessary contrast with the charcoal gray suit. I would place his shades elsewhere, visibly, on the jacket. This outfit is a direct descendant of the look popularized by Tom Ford. And the shirt being undone 3 or 4 times..? This man does not lack for confidence.
8. Anthony Keyworth: I really feel something is amiss with this list. It is spring in South Africa right now but most of the top 10 have not portrayed this in their appearance except for a turquoise scarf. I feel Mr. Keyworth could’ve come out with more bright and bold colours. Not necessarily flamboyant but striking and reflective of his diverse style. The mixture of long sleeve sweater, tweed checkered waistcoat and dark blue jeans is a good look for him and exudes comfort. Something befitting the owner of a Paul Smith outlet.

9. Mandla Sibeko: Flannel is a great fabric, in winter, because of its versatility but this outfit just doesn’t do it for me. Some of the pieces seem ill-fitting. The pocket hanky is not bright enough and if bright fails, just go for the classic crisp white pocket square. For me this is a case of when being dipped in brand names from head to toe misses the mark.  
10. Devon Brough: Now this is the closest to spring summer feeling and I assent totally. I thought he was wearing black slacks but upon closer inspection saw that those are in actual fact shorts. Not really the length but something more in tune with the season. The pairing with a white jacket is a conventional contrast which is mutually complementary though. I am not too sure though about the contrast collar, black and white shirt.

There seems to have been something glaringly absent in all of these pics, something any stylish man has and inherently forms part of his persona and character. A smile. None of these men smiled, maybe it's the recession or the pressures of their jobs however a smile doesnt cost a thing and it should've been impressed upon everyone participating int he shoot to smile. in my opinion a smile could've lightened and brightened any of the outfits I wasn't impressed with. This is nothing but the truth. So gents smile next time you'll be surprised at how good you'll feel.
For a full list of the top 40 you can go here or simply go to your nearest book stand and purchase the latest GQ SA November edition.
PG: Man to man, generation to generation.