Today's post is inspired by the cold, windy and rainy weather outside. That's as far as winter goes in Durban. As much as I would like to sing 'Let it snow' by Boyz II Men, I can't. It would be too much of a misnomer. However this cold weather calls for layers and in our kind of cold, peppered with warmth here and there, a chunky cable knit sweater/ jersey/ pullover/ cardigan, is all a gentleman needs. Whereas in some places in South Africa the brutal cold would warrant a chunky knit to be complemented with an over coat, in Durban chunky is layered with something thin. Like a t-shirt or a shirt underneath.
The important thing to remember about chunky knitwear is that it always falls as the most outer piece. Meaning that it can almost never be worn with something else on top. Unless of course you're in sub zero temperatures. In terms of aesthetics then it wouldn't look good with something else thrown on top. There it is, a seasonal garment that is best suited for mild winters and spring.
Chunky knitwear also takes on many forms and designs and, this has been afforded by the nature of fashion, in that it seeks to incorporate, through change, styles and designs that couldn't be incoroorated before. Below are two illustrations of how certain innovations have been worked into chunky knitwear.
The outer piece tasefully executed.
There's many things going on with this knit and, I love them all. Belted, double breasted, shawl collar. A very unique and refreshing style.
Observing our office space today, and, after some unsightly finds I decided to make a post today about the 5 things I loathe about shared work spaces. These are common, yet negligible things, and since I am a very observant person they tend to rub me up the wrong way. I want to highlight the five most glaring I observe on a daily basis.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with yawning. Especially if you're going to cover your mouth while doing so. However yawning out loudly is not professional or courteous. I had to reprimand some guy who was seated not too far from me, one time, about yawning out loud like he had just woken up from his afternoon slumber. If you are going to yawn, then by all means do so, discreetly, you're not at home.
Clipping finger nails
I really don't understand when someone decides to clip their fingernails at their workstation, whilst working. Especially if said work space is shared. You have all the time in the world to do this at home yet you choose to do it at work..? It doesn't sound right. It doesn't look right. And, it'll never sound or look right. It is unhygienic and very distracting, especially the clipping sound. If you really have to clip your finger nails at work then rather go to the bathroom and clip them over a paper towel and then discard the towel by flushing it down the toilet. That way we are all spared the sight and sound of it all.
Taking shoes off
Gentlemen, this is highly uncalled for. Even if you're wearing socks. Even if we don't see under the desk. Even if your toe nails are clipped and your feet are clean. There is absolutely no need to take your shoes off. If your shoes are too tight then, you know to buy a size bigger next time and, in the mean time, rather let your feet suffer the tightness and claustrophobia.
Dirty pause tables
No one has a 24/7 maid, waiting on them hand and foot. So while you're at work clean up after you have finished eating and drinking in the pause area, canteen or any shared office space designated for food and beverage consumption. Some people are on the clock and every minute counts to them. So for someone to get to a dirty table, first clean up and then sit down to eat, by the time they take their first bite, it'll probably be time for them to get back to work. Be considerate.
Disposing of gum
Believe it, today I found a piece of gum stuck to the back of a cpu unit. People have little regard for their work equipment and a piece of gum stuck to a cpu unit can lead to serious damage of a computer. A cost that wouldn't be borne by the culprit but the company. There are bins provided and if you're far from a bin then you can always put your gum in a tissue and then dispose of it later. There is no need to be sticking it to the equipment, furniture, etc. Respect your work place.
Is the title a little misleading..? Don't worry this has nothing to do with food. Absolutely nothing. Today I am going to talk about three popular stripe patterns found on men's suits. A few internet searches turned up no information on these patterns thus leaving me to my own devices and observations, to inform you. Let's start with Pin stripe, the most popular pattern by far.
This pattern goes back decades and I have vivid memories of my father wearing his own in the mid 80s. Pin stripe comprises very thin, but prominent, stripes running parallel in a cloth. The most prominent is black with white pin stripes, as illustrated above. Initially the Pin stripes were associated with very formal and conservative attire. As men's style and fashion has evolved and progressed the pattern has been relaxed and become less formal and is much more fashionable for the fashion conscious man.
Well as the name suggests, the stripes on this pattern resemble the marks left by white chalk. I guess you can get chalk stripe in many other colours just as chalk of a variety is available. The important thing to remember about chalk stripe is that the stripes are less prominent and are feint as chalk lines. The one combination of chalk stripe I always encounter is grey with white chalk stripe. Chalk stripe also seems to contrast well on wool suits as opposed to other materials. Just like Pin stripes the width of the stripes is not an issue as chalk stripe can be the same as pin stripe in terms of the width of the stripes.
I'm inclined to think that Rice stripe is named so because maybe the stripes almost only come in white, as well as the fact that the stripes are closely grouped together. The width between the stripes is consistent throughout, even with different fabrics. Rice stripes do not enjoy the same liberty in width as Pin or Chalk stripes, but do however, as illustrated above, offer much more in terms of pattern mixing.
If there is one thing that stood out, rallied support and also divided sports fan all over, it is the Vuvuzela. Lovers, followers and supporters of football know what I'm talking about. That long, noisy, blaring horn that emits a monotone sound when blown, couldn't have done more to unite and divide fans equally. Health warnings aside, we are in the 21st century and the subjugation of cultures is something I thought was long eradicated in this world. Clearly not. I was not in agreement with the people who were advocatng the banning of the vuvuzela. How else were we, South Africans, supposed to express our support for Bafana Bafana and celebrate their achievements..? Kudos to FIFA for not heeding those calls.
You know at times, when I get the opportunity to watch NBA games on tv, I will hear the loud noise made by Thundersticks. The sound is quite disturbing because it is sharp and noisy. Now, because I don't know of its origin and place in American sporting culture and society I will deem the instrument a nuisance and not see its use. Much like the vuvuzela. People who are not akin to South African football culture will not understand its use and importance, which explains the collective indifference. However that is no reason to impose on another culture, in my opinion.
And, what other way to end the World Cup, until 2014, than Will Ferrell paying tribute to this instrument in a very stylish and formal manner.
Yes, there were teething troubles, but in general, security concerns were largely unfounded and our nation that so many expected to fail actually put together a truly memorable and intriguing tournament. The World Cup won't be back in Africa for a long time, and that's too bad.
This FIFA World Cup recap has dragged on for too long. Unexpectedly too. And on the penultimate day I present to you the best dressed coaches of the World Cup, as well as some honourable mentions. Three gentlemen stood out for me during the month long tournament: Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk, Frederic Weiss of Slovakia and Huh Jung Moo of South Korea. All of them displayed different kinds of stylish representation and did so consistently and, as far as they could go in the tournament.
South Korea exited the tournament at the round of 16 stage, at the hands of Uruguay. However coach Moo's style was in full display in the group stages against Argentina. In this game he was classically attired. An image befitting an elder statesman of the game of football.
On this particular day, albeit a loss, coach Moo came all out, in a navy double breasted pin stripe suit, white semi-spread shirt and a red tie. Subtle touches such as a lapel pin only enhanced his overall look. I surmise that he wore black shoes as they would blend well with his ensemble and also impart the sentiment that South Korea was ready to take on the tournament's jester and, meant business.
Forgot to mention the peak lapels. This look was fairly consistent considering the fact that businessmen from the Far East and South-East Asia are synonymous with being suited for the office. Coach Moo just parlayed that onto the soccer field, in a very classic manner.
Any man, in sports, that understands the stylish quirkiness of working cuffs has to be knowlegeable in style. I think there is a tacit consensus that sportsmen are bad dressers therefore coach Frederic Weiss of Slovakia was the exception. I duly took note of the black pin stripe suit worn by him and his coaching staff and was highly impressed. But the working cuffs with a white colour coded button hole made for sartorial analysis and admiration.
This was a rather untold sight but very welcome.
I see lapel pins were a common sight with coach Moo and Weiss.
Slovakia's demise in the tournament came at the hands of this man...
Bert van Marwijk of the Netherlands. What's not to admire about this look..? Single breasted, dark grey, crisp white shirt, double vents, slim lapels and, those season appropriate brown chocolate brown suede oxfords. The fit is immaculate and fits his body perfectly. His ensemble really caught my eye. What it really translated to me was poised and composed, even in the face of the mighty Brazil. For me he was the tournament's best dressed coach. And, it's a shame that he was edged out in the final by Vicente del Bosque of Spain.
My one honourable mention goes to England coach Fabio Capello. The reason why he didn't make my top 3 is the fact that his ensemble was very bland and uniform-like, with a pinch of lack of inspiraton. Much like the way England played. However coach Capello gets cool points in fit, proportion and ensemble. I recall a game where he was wearing the same suit as a 3 piece. Had me admiring how an Italian was adhering to classic British tailoring.
Father's day came and went, but this year's was different in that a gift was presented to my dad. By a group of people who are very close to him. My father has never been into coats. He has always been the jacket, sports jacket and sweater type, never a coat. But as he eases into old age his body, in winter, craves the warmth of a 3/4 long coat and the stylish expression it brings.
A 3/4 long, single breasted camel coat. This is what adds to a gentleman's winter wardrobe. It is essential to own one of these, if it suits your style, because it acts both as a buffer against the cold and adds a touch of gentlemanly style to any layered or suited ensemble.
The brand is Durburg. I don't know much about it but its name and origins is definitely a cause for research and a post at a later date. Since this was a gift I will not divulge the price.
Below is an illustration of how a camel coat works with with a suit and tie. Courtesy of GQ
It was a sad sight. A week of bizarre happenings culminating in one of the most ignominious exits at the FIFA World Cup ever. France football had been thrown into turmoil and disarray because of in-fighting within the team. And then this...
After their final group game against Bafana Bafana, South Africa coach, Carlos Alberto Parreira moved and gestured to shake hands with French coach Raymond Domenech. His well meaning gesture was rebuffed by Domenech, accompanied by tugging and finger wagging. Not a good display from a head coach and lends much credence to the saying that 'the fish rots from the head down'. No wonder the whole French campaign was a disaster.
The look on the gentleman behind them, in spectacles, is awash in bemusement. This happened on live TV and when I saw it, the actions spoke louder than words. Maybe coaches should be mic'd up like their counterparts in the NBA so we can hear the actual dialogue.
* Two losses and a draw in the first round.
* Equaling exactly 1 point.
* A senior, but mercurial, player swearing at the coach.
* Players marginalising another player because of jealousy and envy. Nothing else.
* Players mutiny of a scheduled training session.
This and more is what led to the above illustrated moment. In my opinion.
The World Cup, as mentioned a few days ago, really took away from my normal routine, so much so that even blogging took a back seat. However this is not to say I wasn't inspired or didn't keep my eyes open for blog worthy stuff. A lot of stuff went under the radar and, in this post I am going to highlight a few I feel are relevant to this blog and its audience. Well....
as much as Africa was represented by one country, Ghana, after the group stages and beyond, alot more can be said about Africa Fashion Week. This event was held from 30 June - 3 July, followed by the Africa Fashion Awards on 5 July. This was an event for African designers far and wide, local and global, to showcase their skills in a Transeasonal theme. Of all the images I have seen from the event, it seems that this was an event to showcase female lines, only. The absence of men's lines was conspicuous. And since this event was hosted by Africa Fashion International the brainchild of Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe, it's only right that she did it for women. Oh, there were male designers just that they also focused on female lines. Just think that throughout and amidst this whole testosterone driven and physically laden game called soccer, the women were representing for themselves on the other side of town. This event brought together designers from South Africa, Nigeria, Guinea-Bissau, Uganda, Botswana, Ghana, French Commores, Somalia, Mali, Egypt and Mozambique. A satisfactory representation for our continent. In keeping with the true spirit of globalism, this wasn't only South Africa's but Africa's.
Since I don't know much about women's fashion except for the fact that when they match their clothes it works, I will reserve much comment.
What I like most about these pieces is the fact that they are practical and wearable off the ramp. I appreciate that. The above piece has African culture inscribed all over it.
NBA Draft 2010
The NBA draft seems to be getting weaker and weaker, either that or, I've fallen out the loop when it comes to college basketball. My inclination is more towards the former. Anyway, the NBA draft this year went off to very little fan fare, in my opinion. Their attire however, and not the fans, made the most noise.
All I can say is that for every Ekpe Udoh...
There is a Wesley Johnson.
Tartan pants, lemon and white contrast collar double cuff shirt, red patterned tie and navy blue double breasted blazer, with gold buttons. Way to go Wes. For a number 4 pick I sure hope his game is just as smooth as his gear.
I never paid much attention to this brand of watches when it was really big in my high school years, during the mid 90s. This brand was pervasive but it seemed to be targeted towards white people more. I mean that's the demographic I saw wear it often and always. With all its crazy, zany, colourful and plactic designs. Deep down I don't think I liked Swatch but I appreciated how it captured, captivated and cultivated its niche market. It was really a mass product in the sense of the word and, consumed as such.
On 28 June 2010, the man who was almost single-handedly responsible for the revitalisation of Swatch Group in the early 80s and put it on it's course to long term sustainability passed away. Nicolas Hayek is the brain behind the disposable, cheap to make, stylish and, most of all, appealing to the youth, Swatch watch.
Mr. Hayek also inpired the Mercedes-Benz powered Smart car. The reason why Swatch watches now get more than a second look from me:
Beautiful, modern and sophisticated designs.
A South African vocal legend, Nana Coyote passed away on July 6 2010. When I say legend I don't mean that lightly. This man's vocals and music feature vey much in my childhood soundtrack. Together with Ray Phiri they formed Stimela, one of the country's oldest and most popular groups. His voice was distinct, powerful, flavourful, silky, smooth and resonated in any song he featured in. That was Nana Coyote, not afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve and, display and express his emotions in song as well.
For me what stood out the most in this World Cup were the coaches. The whole lot of them. And for every well dressed coach there were 5 who were shabbily attired. At times their images would take my concentration away from the game a bit. Style definitely triumphed over talent in this competition, as evinced in the Netherlands win over Brazil. A charcoal grey slim cut suit will win, over a baggy parka jacket and chinos. Any day. You can take that to the bookies.
Two South American neighbours stood out for me, both on opposite sides of the style spectrum. Coaches Carlos Dunga of Brazil and Diego Maradona of Argentina. Players win games but it is up to the coaches to instill discipline, strategies and tactics that will drive and motivate players to want to win. Both these teams lost in the quarterfinals and, in Brazil's case it was all on the tactical and creative bility of the coach, or the lack thereof. Brazil's play was very uninspired and this was moreso evident in their 2 - 1 comeback loss to the Netherlands. An uninspired, defensive minded and lack of innovative play led to Brazil's early exit.
Looks like Dunga was ready for combat on this day. Everthing looks big, baggy and lacking any kind of flair. Sorry coach but this look contributed to your country's loss in this game.
Given that the weather was cold the coach was appropriately dressed. However I can imagine how hot and sweaty he must've been as the game wore on, especially after the Netherlands scored their game leading goal. In the press conference, I'm sure the coat and sweater came off to reveal a sweat stained shirt at the under arms.
A stark contrast on the style spectrum, the extreme polar opposite of Dunga has to be the character Diego Maradona. In my humble opinion, I think he was way too playful, so much so that I don't believe that his training sessions were punishing and excruciating as reported by the media. His antics on the sideline, his comical responses during press conferences and bizarre superstitions, all formed part of Maradona and his arrogant, bashful self. That apology will come to Pele one day.
I mean, what's with two wrist watches..? If it's to keep up with the time in both your host country and back at home then there are subtle ways of doing it. But two watches whilst in the heat of the match, that says over-the-top, caricature and attention seeker. And attention seeker and grabber he was.
He probably goes through an accessories checklist before he goes out into the tunnel for a game. Two ear studs - check. Two wrist watches - check. A rosary for mid game providence and, for show - check. Even his suit and tie seem out of place. This look was more suited for a celebration at a club after their win over Nigeria. Not at a game. Maradona probably told himself that he looked good,
every day, at every game but we all know that pride comes before a fall and his fall was in the quarterfinals against Germany.
Knowing Maradona, he probably hasn't stopped crying since his return to Argentina, but hopefully he'll be back for 2014 hosted by his nation's fierce rivals. If his entertainment value was matched by his coaching skill, he would truly be one of the few coaches who talk trash and can back it up.
It feels like I have been on hiatus whereas in fact the FIFA World Cup in my country had the us come to a virtual 'standstill'. Well, not really a standstill because every thing else was business as usual. It was good however to be away from the mundanities of everyday living to take part in the biggest celebration South Africa has seen since our 1995 Rugby World Cup win.
I know that many doubters, unbelievers, naysayers have been made to swallow humble pie after predicting that this year's World Cup would be a failure because it was hosted by South Africa. Not so. And I know many fans, foreigners, visitors can attest to that fact. South Africa is not only made up of safari, bushveld, gravel, etc. No, no. We are a 'Rainbow Nation', a developing one at that and, this World Cup has only gone on to affirm that.
This World Cup has done a lot to dispel numerous untruths, myths and fables about South Africa.
Soccer City hosted the opening and closing games. Everyone, I mean everyone, including foreigners can attest that it is a world class facility. The funny thing came when I was reading an article somewhere on the internet and there was a remark from a foreign journalist that the stadium looked incomplete. Not knowing that it was designed to look like a calabash. Incomplete..? The same could be said about the 'Bird's Nest' in Beijing.
I am an African. These were opening words to former president Thabo Mbeki's parliamentary speech a few years ago. This World Cup was awarded during his tenure as president and the above image is symbolic of the continuation of his African renaissance legacy and how far we've come as a nation.
A celebration and amalgamation of cultures. Since it was the first African World Cup the opening and closing ceremonies had to be distinctly african. Incorporating all South African cultures.
A very common occurrence in Africa, reining in the press.
South Africa's twelfth man on the pitch as coined by coach Carlos Alberto Parreira. It's incredible how this instrument, the vuvuzela, was slated and condemned by many in the foreign media and those watching on tv all over the world, only to see their fellow country men visiting South Africa, adopting and using it as their instrument of choice at soccer games. FIFA did not ban the instrument with good reason, as it forms part of South African sports culture.
The moment months of hard work all came together: Siphiwe Tshabalala's opening goal in the opening match against Mexico. I can assure you that this goal forms one of the pinnacle moments in World Cup history. Although the game ended in a draw I was extremely satisfied with the result.
In a nutshell this is Day 1 of a 31 day recap of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.