Saturday, January 30, 2010

Stylish trash bags...?

I think not. This is plain and simply over the top. Louis Vuitton trash bags have made their way to somewhere. Maybe some celebrities house. This is not an extension of one's style but rather their personality which reflects  poor choice and profligate.

This is the fashion foolish item of the day.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Gone to soon

I was so excited this morning waking up because I was visiting two new tailoring businesses. I had a few garments, dress pants in fact, that I was going to split between the two tailors. My visit to Soli Omar was uneventful. I met, whom I assume, to be the manager or owner and gave him the pants and he took my measurements. Said my stuff would be ready by Monday afternoon.

After that, I went about looking for NEW York tailors in Foundry Lane. I walked up to where I thought I saw it, where it used to be and found the whole place looking different. I went to a men's clothing store and asked the sales man where NY tailors is and he gave me puzzled and confused look. "New York tailors closed down a long time ago", he told me. "Maybe two years ago, when the owner Mr. Daya died." At this point I was incredulous. It just didn't make sense to me. Before even blessing me with his much vaunted tailoring skills the man passed away. The story I heard was that after Mr. Daya died due to a lot of mismanagement the store closed down six months later. Now not only did a fraction of tailoring history die but the business and its legacy died along with it.

Truly the last in an unbroken line of tailors.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Audi Joburg fashion week

It's been four days since AJFW ended and as a style learner and enthusiast it is an event I was keeping my eye on. I am disappointed at the lack of coverage of the event because this means on many levels and in certain sectors not much is known about the event. AJFW is a winter/ spring showcase for many respected South African designers. It is also a platform for promoting African fashion and design on the continent and throughout the world.The main aim of the event is to improve the fashion design output from Africa, promote African brands, and raise the profiles of African designers.

It seems as if men's fashion is far removed from what women's fashion is all about, at least in the african context. My observation looking at some of the pics from the shows that were held, is that, there isn't much quirky, eccentric or idiosyncratic expressions of men's fashion. Everything seems real, applicable and most importantly pragmatic. Just take a look at some of the pictures below.

Designs from above are from Craig Port, Craig Jacobs and Fabiani. It is also important to know that the driving force behind AJFW is African Fashion International chaired by Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe. What I admire about this initiative is that it has become a springboard and platform for South African designers to put themselves on the global stage. This is an opportunity that has seen the likes of David Tlale, Thula Sindi, Machere and a host of others pass the fashion stage with flying colours.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


It's not everyday that I see a well dressed news reader/ anchor on South African tv. For some reason the style bug has not bitten on this side of the news world and that is a source of great concern for me. Style and presentation seem to be sorely lacking. From SABC 1 through to SABC 3 one is, on a daily basis, confronted with poorly dressed individuals reading and presenting the news. SABC News International...? It doesn't get better there either. It is so bad that one evening a reader on SABC 1 news was wearing a bright green shirt. The problem was that the shirt was small. So small that the top two buttons couldn't be buttoned, a little flesh from his upper chest was showing, and the worst, a tie was used to try to hide all that mess. I was incredulous.

Etv is an exception, even though at times it looks like smart-casual dominates. The exception this morning, other than Andrew Barnes everyday at lunch time, was Macfarlane Moleli.

Dressed in a black chalk stripe suit, a white shirt and a beige plaid tie, the brother looked like he had taken a page out of GQ magazine. This was great execution. Even his grooming was top notch.

I sure hope other news readers from other channels can take a bite out of Big Mac's style.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pants need fixing

A proper fitting pair of dress pants is the ultimate complement to a man's outfit. Therefore I have made it my mission to fix all my dress pants that need altering, especially the length. The one's I'm wearing right now, after a visit to the tailor still need work, I guess from someone more qualified. What I'm aiming for is, the just above the shoe fit. I don't think I can do the ankle baring fit, that requires a lot of chutzpah to pull off.

This light grey pair of dress pants needs work on the length and waist. The waist is slightly loose and the length makes for endless breaks which I have grown to dislike because they give that oversize, dragging on the floor feeling.

This terra-cotta pair needs the same work as the grey pair as well as a little altering on the thigh because it is a little tight which hinders movement.

This beige pair with feint baby blue stripes needs the length to be reduced. I'm sure you'll agree that the break is real bad and would most certainly drag if it was worn with a pair of mocassins or loafers.

The Ball Busters

This is the same pair of grey pants as those featured above although I bought these at Woolworths. I call these the ball busters because they are so tight around the crotch and buttocks that any attempt at fitting them results in my voice changing to a higher pitch. Ever since I got them back from my tailor I never wore them because they just didn't fit due to the poor quality of work rendered.

Not only does the waist need opening but, I plan on making this a pair of shorts. Above the knee, just how I like them.

Workmanship so bad I wasn't going to tolerate the perpetual wedgie.

In the past I have spoken about the need for tailoring and made to measure clothes and their importance to gentlemen in Durban. I also stated that I would be visiting two different tailoring businesses to get some work done on these pieces, and then, from the final result decide which tailor I am going to stick with. In the next couple of days I am going to visit Soli Omar Tailors and New York Tailors and experience for myself what their hype is all about.

The desired outcome of this exercise is this:

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Like you've never seen him before

Honestly, this post was going to be about Kobe Bryant and his questionable choice in formal attire at times, but after looking over these pictures again I decided to change my tone. I will however review his sartorial choices after this GQ mag spread. That being said I happened to be at CNA this past Saturday looking for the latest American edition of GQ mag with Rihanna on the cover and after fruitlessly searching for it I happened upon on the November edition headlining the men of the year. I got the one with President Obama on the cover. I wasn't however ready for what GQ had done with Kobe. Now I'm ready and I sure hope you are too.

This is an absolute must have for me this winter. A plaid tie.

One thing I appreciate about Kobe's style of suits is the single breast with the deep V and long lapels.

The hat, is not the centre piece of this outfit however it adds a touch of jazzy class. I could easily substitute that ball with a musical instrument.

A dash of pink to break that shade of monotonous blue.

The one thing I hope this has done, for Kobe, is heighten is awareness for choice and taste in formal wear. Thank you GQ.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

All you - The signature look

I was sitting at home this morning watching Dave Chapelle's Block party movie/ documentary when I came across the hip hop band The Roots. I'm not a fan of hip hop as much as I used to be. I can safely say I've fallen out of love with the music, although I still do appreciate it and the strides it has made. I was thinking to myself that, some well known individuals are not so well known by the public, in terms of name, their looks, their voice, etc, BUT, the public knows them by a certain look. By a certain look I mean by their outward appearance. Now, how does this tie in with The Roots...?

Well, their bass player, Leonard 'Hub' Hubbard came to mind. One may not know his name, his voice, etc BUT one thing you can never mistake about him is his penchant for smoking what appears to be a cigar. All the time. The man will be playing away on his bass and simultaneously blowing away on that cigar. Before I knew his name, I knew him as the guitar player from The Roots with a cigar always firmly clenched between his lips. For him this has definitely become his signature look because any picture I have seen of him will have him with a cigar, even if it's not lit. He has worked it so that it forms part of his appearance, personality and mien. Here's another look:

I think a signature look is about more than establishing a fashion identity. After all, I believe it is 'the man that maketh the clothes' therefore as much as clothes can accentuate and make you feel good. You should be able to feel good and accentuated without the clothes (pun not intended). For some the signature look is more about accessories than the way they wear their clothes. Woody Allen is synonymous with great and interesting films but he's also almost equally known for his round black framed spectacles. This is unmistakably Woody Allen. When you see him you see those spectacles. And when you see those spectacles or anyone else wearing something of the same kind you definitely think of Woody Allen.

Some signature looks go way back and haven't changed but, instead have transcended time. Enter Dr. Cornel West. With his slightly unkempt afro and full beard. This is Dr. West and nothing can ever change what this look represents to him. It may be religious, personal or cultural but what remains is that he will forever be known for his full body of hair. One can also surmise that the gap in his teeth was deliberately left 'open' so as to incorporate it into his look.

Still on the subject of hair I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Questlove, legendary drummer of The Roots as well. That afro has been his look for the longest time. Why it works is that he seems to love it and therefore owns it as well. The key to a signature look is confidence. Without confidence you're most certainly going to worry about peoples eyes and opinions about it.

Now a signature look only becomes signature if it worn consistently. There might be variation, changes, alterations, transformation, etc, however the foundation of it all should never be lost. Which brings me to my point about sticking with your signature look even if it seems out of place, obsolete or antiquated. After all it is your look.

Maxwell has shed the full body of hair he once possessed and has settled on something shorter and visibly neater. What he has adopted, since he has undergone a transformation, is the soul patch just above the chin. What I have also noticed is his new found love for double breast suits. Now that's a look that'll never go out of style.

Ultimately what I'm saying is, a signature look is about self expression, a point of view and creativity that reflects a comfortable and easy-to-assemble wardrobe. The signature look is founded on knowing what works and looks best on you.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Stab vest - The foolishness ensues

Come on now...!!! So visitors, fans and tourists coming to South Africa for the FIFA 2010 soccer world cup need to protect themselves by getting stab vests...? Wow, the prejudice, the bias, the glaring and overt propaganda, the preconceived judgement and self-indulgent opinion are nothing short of detrimental. This product plugged by a British company Protektorvest based on an irrational attitude of hostility and apprehension against South Africa cannot be allowed to continue. This'll only spoil what seems to be a well organised event and cause unnecessary fear and panic. A stab vest from Britain, the irony. The company said it could also customise the vests with team or national emblems. Talk about practising safe patriotism.

This is nothing but a ploy to make money off fans visiting our country using scare tactics. We have hosted many sporting events over the years without incident therefore our organisation and security cannot now be called into question. We are capable of ensuring our visitors safety and security. Recent sporting events I can quote are the Test cricket series between SA and England which has been going on for the duration of December and January. Another the rugby test series with the British and Irish Lions was also without incident except for english fans drinking all bars and pubs in Durban dry. Warm beer, milk stout and all.

Spokesperson for the Local Organising Committee, Rich Mkhondo says "We want to encourage fans travelling to South Africa to come here without any fear. They do not need any stab vests."

This is so fashion foolish I don't know where to begin. Where and how would you wear it..?

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The fitted sweat suit

Hip hop can be so misleading sometimes. When I look back to my younger days, as an avid and passionate hip hop head, I cannot fathom how I wore overly baggy clothes with the thought that I looked good. Hm...That's what the thought of swagger'll do to ya. But even hip hop clothing can be refined, fitted and made to measure. Just take a look at the sweat suit below taken from Brooklyn Circus Blog.

From the first moment I saw it I just knew that it was the perfect way to show that hip hop gear needn't be baggy, saggy and disheveled. This is the best sweat suit presentation I have seen. Not only is it in my favourite colour, grey, but it is well coordinated with that beige leather jacket.

It's good to know that made to measure also extends to hip hop and sporty wear. This however makes me want to go and donate all those oversized hoodies I have to the HHSC (Hip hop Stan Club).

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

This Gift of Life Closes the Door

The man who brought us lyrics such as: I don't know the last time I told you/ But girl, you make me so very happy, is no more. Teddy Pendergrass. His death or rather its coverage overshadowed by the natural disaster in Haiti, which is no small event either because of the thousands of lives lost and the suffering Haitians are enduring right now.

I feel like little by little the soundtrack to my childhood is being erased. First Mike, now TP, who's next...? This man was incredibly smooth, from his voice to his sense of dress he had it all. If you don't believe me just take a look at his album covers. The man always put in work when it came to his image, to ensure he was well presented. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the cover of the 'Joy' album, where he is dressed in a black raglan collared sweater, with tiny sequins and leather patches. I thought he looked cool. But, what transcended all of the aforementioned characteristics were his voice, his sound and his lyrics. Gamble and Huff, his producers for a long period at TSOP, get my nod as one of the greatest production teams of all time.

Teddy Bear, as he was also affectionately known, with this trademark silky smooth, warm voice had a long career even after suffering paralysis from the waist down after a car accident. 'In my Time' is a song that, for me, stands out and is a mark for certain memories from my childhood. I also remember T.P in a wheelchair in the video for the same song. I know it sounds like I'm discussing the man's misfortunes and bad luck instead of his great music and inimitable sense of style. I digress.

In terms of style, dress and presentation TP was the complete package. One cannot even miss his well groomed beard and hair. On stage, from a video I've seen, he had the whole band dressed in tuxedos thus extending his sense of dress to other professionals around him.

This can be described as quirky in music terms. A mixture of tan and black. Teddy made it work too.

His trademark full beard and hair was maintained throughout his music career and life. Now that's what I call well groomed.

The man representing in a trench and scarf a far cry from the white jump suit he would sport at his 'For women only concerts'.

This image is taken from his 1981 release 'It's time for love'. The pose, the unbuttoned white shirt and pants, the black belt matching with the sole of his shoes, the full beard and hair never out of place BUT what tops the whole thing off has got to be those white cowboy boots.

A man of style, not only well groomed but immaculately tailored as well.

Some of my favourite songs by TP are 'Close the door', 'Is it still good to ya', 'This gift of life', the list is endless.

Rest in peace Teddy.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Chambray: How can I describe it..? Light-weight, cotton shirt with a shiny finish. This is the perfect shirt for summer. My experience with Chambray has mostly been in the colour blue. In terms of the chronological history of the fabric I'm curious to know which came first, denim or chambray because they are so similar they're at times indistinguishable. Chambray, according to wikipedia dates back to the 14th century when it was first used in France.

This is the only chambray shirt, by Dockers, I have which I hardly ever wear. I chose it especially because it is a contrast colour, with white cuffs and collar. It's low price goes without saying also.

No doubt, I dress it up and down. When I do dress it down I opt for a light blue pair of jeans, taupe driving mocassins and a thick dusty-beige belt. When it's time to go up with it, I opt for a pair of dress pants or chinos and a jacket or cardigan. I just keep it simple because the shirt is a little cantankerous.

I think the same rule that applies to denim shirts and coordination applies to chambray as well. One should never match the colour of the chambray shirt with their jeans or pants. The colours should always be different in a complementary way.

As a parting shot I give you two examples of chambray dressed up and down. My preference is the dressed up one, simply because I'm still not confident about my bright blue driving mocs.

Terry Crews in dark blue chambray


PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I'm a winter man

According to the book 'Colour for Men' by Carole Jackson that I'm busy reading, I am a winter man. Not in the sense that I should be dressed warmly at all times but rather using the seasons, winter in my case, as a way of describing my colouring and the colours that look best on me. I tend to be very subjective when reading up on issues that pertain to me, especially those of a very personal nature. So I think I have taken the information in this book as the gospel truth and have somehow convinced myself that I should follow all the guidelines and advice without compromise. If the colour terra-cotta, which subsequently is not a winter's colour, appears under a different season I shouldn't even take interest in it because it wouldn't look good on me and would project a dull look instead of a bright one.

The winter man is described as one whose skin has a blue undertone to it. Grey-beige skin, ranging from light to dark, with no visible pink is also a characteristic of the winter man. In terms of race winters can be classified as  most olive-skinned people, blacks and Asians.

Based on the above a winter man's colours are: White, Black, Grey, Taupe, Blue, Red, Green, Yellow, Pink and Purple.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The checked shirt - problem solved

A checked shirt has always been a problem for me because of its complements and tie combinations. For me checked shirts can only be combined and coordinated with powerful, solid ties. This is the case, however this can be expanded upon. Yesterday I saw a gentleman immaculately dressed and coordinated in khaki pants, a checked baby blue shirt and a solid pink tie. The tie, solid but in a very soft shade of pink that rested beautifully on and with the shirt.

I have a baby blue shirt checked in pink, white and yellow. I have had this shirt for almost 5 years and have never worn it with a tie. Simply because I never knew what kind of tie would complement it and whether any other patterns would work with an already heavily checked shirt. Well as mentioned in the opening paragraph a particular gentleman solved my dilemma for me. Showing me that not only is a solid tie one's first choice but it works wonderfully if it contrasts as well. I will, in future, model the shirt I am talking about especially with certain tie and suit combinations. I already have a summer and winter combination going on in my head.

I'm incredulous somewhat at the fact that a paisley tie can be coordinated with a window pane check shirt. How about pink and burgundy check with a burgundy and pink polka dot tie. The best combination for me has to be this last one. The coordination is very complimentary and the boldness of the gold dots on the tie form a sharp contrast with the small check of the shirt. Gold cuff links included.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Top Ten needs for 2010

After having reveiwed my wardrobe I have come to the conclusion that I have to add some essential pieces to it. Pieces that will add versatility and flexibility to a somewhat rigid wardrobe. I really look forward to adding these pieces one at a time and also witnessing their practicality. Some are absolutely die-hard needs and others mere frivolous indulgences that in any case will complete my list.

My top ten is as follows:

The choice between black and navy was easily settled since I already have a black chalk stripe suit. Nothing intrigues and satisfies my sartorial curiosity like a double breasted suit. It's classic cut and lines, elegance, it's chic and very showy. I'm mulling a tailor recommended to me by my brother but, just to be on the safe side I may just stay with Soli Omar or New York tailors. This suit is a must-have for me in 2010.

An attache briefcase. You all would shake your heads at the sight of the bag I use to work every day. Given to me by my wife, to whom it was a freebie, from her father, who got it at his previous job. No, a Telkom satchel is just not a good look. I aim to play it safe at first with a simple black or navy leather attache. Then build on that.

The quintessential white sneaker for any style conscious man. In my younger days I spurned these sneakers because they didn't fit into the hip hop mould that I had grown into. Now that I'm older I aim to make even more of a statement with these sneakers. I love their versatility and their aesthetics appeal to me very much.

Converse All Star lo's. A little frivolous but I need them in both black and white. I have big plans in terms of coordination and combinations, and the only way to achieve those plans is by getting both.

Knit Ties, not in these specific colours however a range of them would be most welcome and would add a touch of difference to my already expanding tie collection.

Shawl collar cardigan. This is going to require some real searching and digging on the streets. I need it in thick lambs wool. It's the only way I plan to nestle myself into those cold wintry nights.

Bass tasseled loafers have been a favourite of mine for a long time and it's about time I got me a pair. Although I have seen a pair by Johnston and Murphy which interested me the pair by Bass best represent the divide between formal and casual. I just love how this shoe can be dressed down and its versatility is what's most compelling.

I've loved a pea coat for the longest time but never really had the need to buy one. I am now a man given to style and therefore it's only right that I traverse these Durban streets in a camel pea coat. Very eye catching, built to last, durable and most importantly, I know a spot where I will get one at a reasonable if not dirt cheap price.

I always thought that the perfect complement to a pair of shorts was a pair of sneakers or driving mocassins, enter the boat shoe. This is the perfect and complete complement to a pair of shorts. Especially in the brown above. Not forgetting that boat shoes can be also be dressed up but to really show them off I'm going to do so in  my above the knee or mid thigh shorts. The Indian quarter in town is the perfect place to find a good quality pair by Dakota or Sebago.

I do have a light grey suit but it's not up to standard. So not up to standard that I don't even wear the jacket anymore only the pants get playing time. I've decided that I will have a light grey 3 piece suit made to measure. It can be worn as a 3 or 2 piece. The waist coat and jacket can be worn with jeans, the combinations are endless. If all goes according to plan I will have it made in time for spring. 2010 however will not come to a close without having had one made.

So there you have it. I have a checklist and every time I purchase one of these items I will strike it off the list because part of the goal will have been accomplished.Until then wish me luck and I sure hope not to break the bank.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.