Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wrist Watch On Shirt Cuff

This style of wearing a wrist watch on a shirt cuff is nothing new to me. The first time I was confronted with this style was about four years ago. I was watching a documentary on the French luxury jeweler and watch manufacturer Cartier, particularly its UK operation, under the leadership of Mr. Arnaud Bamberger. In one particular segment I was surprised to see him wearing his wrist watch over his shirt cuff. I thought it was quite original. Innovative. Unique. Now, exactly four years later, I happen to see that it is a style quite popular with, but not relegated to, Italian men. With reason. Italians are touted as the custodians of expressive style. The originators of sprezzatura. Apart from stylish expression or nonchalance, I view this style as being practical as well. On a layered look, especially for wrist watch lovers, you don't want your time piece buried beneath three to four layers of garments. It's not practical that, in order to tell the time, you peel away at layers of clothing until your wrist watch is finally revealed. 

It also makes sense with the types of shirt designs nowadays, where the cuff has two buttons, that one would utilise this style of wearing a wrist watch so as to prevent the cold from entering through the cuff. Sounds crazy, illogical, and maybe a little paranoid. But it is very pragmatic.

How about when a gent sweats on his wrist? A fact that I can attest to. That little trickle of sweat is annoying, because it forces you to remove your watch every now and then to wipe your wrist dry. So, as contrived and ostentatious this style may be, there is no denying that it has its uses.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Last Three Pairs You Need For Summer

This should've been done a week ago but the festive season has a way of getting in the way of tasks that have to be completed, especially when enjoying the December holidays for the first time since 2002. I digress though. To the last three essential shoes a man needs for summer.
Tasseled loafers, without question, are my all time favourite shoes. This goes all the way back to my childhood and watching my father wear them, with both his corporate and casual attire. The fine line between casual and formal attire can be best straddled in these shoes. The Tassels, which are a distinctive feature, give the shoes stylish character that can't be replicated, in my opinion, by ordinary loafers without tassels.

Sneakers with a dash of colour are always an enhancement to a dull or neutral outfit. White is so ubiquitous in summer that I can't think of a better way to break the monotony than with colourful sneakers. Of the manly kind of course. Something bold, loud, colourful and dashing. And I can't think of a better shoe, a staple in South Africa for years, Superga.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

A few months ago, during the Northen Hemisphere summer, GQ magazine did an online spread on how to upgrade your summer wardrobe. Amongst the hats, shades and food menu they presented, I was very much intrigued by the summer lace-up they were plugging, by Common Projects. I have never been a fan of wearing lace-up shoes without socks, but after one look at the styling and design of the Common Project shoes I could already see myself in a pair. And this time I wouldn't eschew the opportunity to go sockless in a pair of lace-up shoes and chinos.

Now, I am advocating this shoe for summer. It is simply beautiful. The perforations are also important for breathability as well as aesthetic. What I love the most about this Common Projects lace-up are the various shades that they come in. My favourites; cream white/ ivory, grey and any shade of brown.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Willy White Shoes

At this point the only white shoes I recommend for summer are white sneakers. It's taken me a while to appreciate white shoes of the smart casual kind. White sneakers, however, have been a favourite of mine ever since Nike Air Force 1's. I've outgrown AF1's though, because at some point summer calls for footwear a little slimmer. Sleeker. These design specifications can be found in Tiger Onitsuka's white canvas sneakers and the new all white V45 model by New Balance.

I came across this gem at Meltz about two weeks ago, going for an unbelievable R199. With the current 50% sale, I imagine them going for half the original amount. I mean really, what's not to love about it besides the price? A canvas upper with a rubber sole, it's simplistic design begs for an even simpler outfit. How about a light blue cotton or chambray shirt and khaki chinos.

I've always been a fan of New Balance. From my very first pair of 801's in 1998 inspired by Stephon Marbury and Slam Magazine, I have always admired them. There has been a white sneaker released before, sometime in 2000/1, but the V45 is a stylish enhancement to its predecessor. From top to bottom this is about as stylish as sneakers can get. This is way better than anything ever released by fashion houses. I have read somewhere of a white party at the end of the year, the V45 would be a wiser choice to don as oppsoed to those popular white rubber soled loafers.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Essential Shoes For Summer: Boat Shoes

This week will be solely dedicated to posts about shoes we gentleman need for summer, especially to cope with the unforgiving heat. Living in a coastal city I can't think of a better shoe to represent the locale like a boat shoe. amaTom-Tom, as they are affectionately known in Durban, are shoes Durbanites wear year round. I don't know if gentlemen in this region are aware, but our shoe game is fairly on point. Beyond the ankles is where the most work needs to be done. I digress. These shoes are a casual staple for hot and cold weather alike. Although one would dress them up differently according to the season, they remain, however, a necessity for any gentleman living in regions of tropical weather. In this post I am going to focus on three popular brands in South Africa. On any given day, you are bound to see guys wearing one of these three boat shoe brands.

Dakotas: This brand has been a staple in South African wardrobes for years. I am definitely endorsing this colour too. A deep purple like a die-hard Laker fan. Dakotas boat shoes come in a variety of colours and colour ways. In my estimation they are the cheapest of boat shoe brands. Simple in design, they are definitely for the budget conscious gentleman because they exude casual quality without looking cheap.

Bronx: This brand is found in many clothing retail outlets and chains, like Edgars. Price wise they are in the R400 - R450 range. Fairly affordable. For any style novice this is the beginners colour. It is safe, versatile and easy to dress up. I imagine myself in a pair of grey shorts, pink shirt and these brown Bronx boat shoes. Unlike Dakotas they look like quality shoes exuding that real nautical feel. These are definitely recommended for anyone looking to go casual during summer without having to blend in with the slide, flip-flops and sandals crowd.

Sebago: In my last year of high school, 1996, I remember a friend of mine telling me that Sebago is a very popular brand down in Durban. That was a year before I moved to Durban. When I arrived, true to his word, Sebago was incredibly pervasive. I love everything about this particular design. The texture, which appears to be a combination of brushed suede and chamois. The colour, nothing beats heather grey. And the white stitching. Currently American's Menswear outlets are having a sale where you can purchase two pairs for R1400. Too steep in my book. Which is why I'll opt for the apparent safe aesthetic and auspicious price of Dakotas. I'm not about to break the bank just yet.

You can never go wrong with boat shoes, whether in shorts or trousers, their beauty will resonate. For the advanced style conscious gent I advocate even louder, bolder and brighter colourways. For a coastal city with clothing brands such as Dockyard and Stone Harbour, boat shoes fit right in.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.