Tuesday, August 31, 2010

LEVI'S® LOVES LOCAL


A week ago or so I came across a gentleman on the street who was wearing a denim shirt with the words 'Levi's Loves Local' emblazoned on the back. Natually, I was intrigued especially that the word 'local' forms an integral part of South African black dialect. I didn't stop to ask him about his shirt but after some online research I have been enlightened to the fact that this is a new campaign embarked upon by Levi's to celebrate South Africa, and its recent successes. This is a new range by Levi's in collaboration with local illustrators who were chosen to interpret the theme Levi's Loves Local for Levi's South Africa.

Levi's has done extensive work in South Africa pertaining to Corporate Social Responsibility, therefore this new venture is only but an extension of their CSR initiative and giving back to the community. The range includes hoodies, sweaters, belts, caps and bodywear. And is available now from Levi's stores and selected Markham Stores.


PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Good: The Double Breasted Suit featuring Maxwell

I thought I 'd use these images of singer Maxwell to illustrate how a double breasted shouldn't be worn. Later on in the week I plan on doing another post on how a double breasted suit should be worn, featuring none other than Maxwell, again. I can't express how much I love double breasted jackets, blazers and suits, a design I am fully adopting to signify my style and taste.

                  Don't wear a double breasted suit without a tie


The formality of the jacket and it being a part of a suit definitely calls for accompanying and complementary neckwear. Either a necktie or a bowtie may be worn with a double breasted suit. Since the suit is formal some form of neckwear is essential because it conveys a sense of seriousness and conservatism. Another point to consider is the fact that because the lapels cross after buttoning, your tie needn't be as wide as the lapels. A double breasted blazer needn't be worn with a tie, for example, the navy blazer with gold buttons. This one can be dressed down. However when wearing a full double breasted suit a tie is mandatory.

Don't wear a double breasted suit without vents


Unless you're making an ode to the 90s, a double breasted suit shouldn't be worn without double vents. I also have this thought of how a double breasted jacket with a single, middle vent would look like and, I can't seem to separate that thought from that of a penguin. The rules of a double breasted suit call for double vents. Vents allow for movement and their aesthetic can't be denied. For black men especially, since we have a little more derriere than men of other races, double vents accommodate the little extra we may have. The hump effect of closed vents will most certainly be avoided.

Padded jackets are so antiquated


Well...that goes for heavily padded jackets. Nowadays jackets of all kinds, single, double, etc, have narrowly set and thinly padded shoulders. The bunching on the shoulders caused by the raised arms would be diminished if there was no padding at all. Nowadays shoulder construction on jackets is done to follow the natural contours of an individual's shoulders.

Buttoning


Maxwell is right on one account, his jacket is buttoned throughout the whole performance. However, I feel that the buttoning rule with regards to 3 button suits also applies to double breasted suits, particularly the six-on-two jacket. Only the middle button(s) need buttoning. To strenghten the fastening, a functional inner-button, called the jigger, is usually added to parallel-fasten the over-lapped layers from the inside. Using the jigger together with the middle button will hold the jacket seamlessly in place. The top two buttons, on six-on-two jackets, are merely for decorative purposes.

No pocketsquare, no flair


A pocketsquare adds colour, flair, personality and texture to an otherwise bland and boring suit. In this case you want a pocketsquare that will have a stronger effect on the suit as most of the shirt and tie will be submerged under the suit.

These are not the final rules pertaining to double breasted suits but merely a guide on how to wear it. If the suit is a little too deep in sartorial waters then a gentleman can start with the double breasted blazer, without a tie. It is definitely a brillaint way to do casual with flair. A double breasted suit provides a special opportunity to broaden one's sartorial horizons without straying from tradition.


PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Florsheim Replaced by 1k Sneaker

The SABC never ceases to amaze me. After suspending its CEO, in the past few days, the second one in 12 months, it seems to be on a serious downward spiral. The corporation is marred by financial mismanagement which has led to a serious lack funds. Public distrust, political interference, censorship and, bland programming somewhat. It came as no surprise then that last night on a music show the host quipped, "Florsheim replaced by the thousand rand sneaker."


I think that statement was a reference to the shift that has transpired from the old era to the modern world. The inference was that Florsheim is not worn anymore or, even worse, doesn't exist as a company and shoe brand. In this day and age I know this for a fact: I would definitely spend a thousand rand , budget willing of course, on a pair of Florsheim shoes as opposed to a pair of sneakers for the same amount.


Florsheim has come a long way and is still going strong. Established in 1892 by Milton S. Florsheim and his father Sigmund. Since then the brand has undergone success and challenges. All of this success and challenges culminating in the company being resold in 2002. What cannot be disputed though is Florsheim's longevity and importance to the shoe game.


The reason why the show's host mentioned Florsheim, albeit ignorantly, is the fact that South African musos of old identified with the shoe, its aesthetic, the brand and how it fit into their lifestyles.


Two interesting facts about Florsheim taken from my life: 1. In high school I had a friend who wore a black pair of Florsheim wingtips daily as part of his school uniform. Thinking about it now, he looked fresh in his grey slacks and Florsheim's. 2. At university there was a guy who played for the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg campus, who was known as Flosh. Only in later years did I get to find out that his full name was Florsheim Ngwenya. His daddy must've loved the brand, a lot. Florsheim is now national coach of the South African Men's basketball team.


If anyone knows of Al Green's last album, Lay It Down, being produced by The Roots or of Anita Baker's tentative album having a song featuring Snoop Dogg, that's exactly what Duckie Brown has done with Florsheim. This collaboration is about rejuvenation, longevity and most of all relevance.

Talk about old school touch, a new school feel, with a colourful lift.


PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

PG in Wonderland

This past weekend I visited Gateway Theatre of Shopping. Amongst all the aspirant singers auditioning for E-TV's reality show pop stars I managed to do a little window shopping. My expedition took me to various interesting stores but two stores made a huge impression on me. The much talked about and vaunted, by some of my colleagues, Europa Art Shoes and, Coachman. Europa Art is an exclusively shoe store catering to both men and women. Coachman is anything and everything bags, luggage, briefcases, etc. In there I encountered very beautiful items Some, like the black attache below, were in my price range. Some, the perforated tassled loafer, way out of my price range. For now.




I am absolutely loving these two loafers, particularly the one in tan. Would fit in very well with summer.












PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Case For Pleats

Nowadays you'd be hard pressed to find pants with pleats. It's as if pleats have been done away with on men's pants. The question is, WHY..? I understand that men's fashion has become and fully embraced slimmer and more fitted lines on suits and the ilk. What I don't understand however is why and how flat front (pants without pleats) have become the standard in men's tailoring. I understand fully and, embrace, individual choice, taste and preference, what I can't comprehend is why flat front pants have taken over at the expense of pleats.


The above image illustrates the subtle but marked difference between flat front and pleated pants. The standard rule is that; if your pants are pleated then they should have a turn up as well. Coversely if they are flat front then a turn up is not advised. I consume a lot of GQ, Esquire and online material, and, a lot of them advocate flat front pants, even when they form part of a suit. Page through one of these mags and you will see that even the advertisements show men in suits with flat front pants.

I also contend with people who say that pants with pleats are too spacious. That is simply not true. It is a case of comfort. I go for pleats because they allows for movement and the pelvic region feels less constricted. That is the main challenge with flat front, they make me feel contricted around the pelvic region. To such an extent that even putting my hands in my pockets is not an option because everything feels so tight. The image below illustrates how movement is allowed and mellifluous with pleated pants.


Research has enlightened me to the fact that pleats go from single to quadruple. Yes, you read right. There are some pants with four pleats.

The single pleat

Double pleat

Triple pleat

Quadruple pleat

Pleats are practical as ever. I appreciate how they give room in the crotch and derriere. Aesthetially the crease emanating from a pleat allows for a seamless line down the leg to the turn up. I feel that with men's fashion pleats have to be accommodated and built into designs with slimmer pant legs as opposed to the baggy effect that was/ is still pervasive, originating in the 90s. One thing I know  I can never do and have never even given the time of day is pleated khakis and chinos. That's just uncalled for.




PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Preparing for Spring: Start with a new scent

A few months ago I opened a copy of GQ SA, the June issue, I think. In the packaging was a small sample of Azzaro Chrome Sport. A delectably strong cologne designed by Azzaro Paris for the sportsman. Being a Hugo Boss Baldesrini faithful, especially in the winter, I decided to just take the little thing and placed in my toiletry bag which stays in my gym bag. For use whenever I went to the gym. Needless to say it stayed in there, not used, for close on two months. A few weeks ago I decided to give it a try. I went a little too much with that first application leading me to surmise that a small application would literally cover me for the whole day. What happened today though was totally unexpected...


I went to the gym around midday and when I was finished it was 13:00. I headed straight to the showers. I decided to go all preppy with my casual Friday dress code. Light blue mini houndstooth shirt with point collars, with a  yellow, white and pink window pane check. Dark blue slim fit jeans. Heather grey rugby polo. Rust shaded desert boots. Woven yellow belt.

While getting dressed I decided, this time, to go easy with the application. I gave myself exactly two sprays and put it back. I was good for the day. I'm blogging now, the time is 21:36 and, I can still smell the scent. This is officially my scent for Spring. Without a doubt. It felt and smelt extra special after my workout as well.

Fresh out of the shower the fragrance is refreshing with aquatic-woody notes. Definitely a scent of action and energy. The top notes are citron, bergamot, grapefruit and bitter orange. A composition of cedar, amber and white musk close out this wonderful fragrance as base notes.

I can already smell Spring in the air.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Beautiful Mind, an extraordinary wardrobe

Women want a man with a beautiful mind, like John Nash/
You only short changing yourself if you only about the cash/

So went a line that I had conjured up, back in the days when I was a rapper. This is more than 8 years ago. I digress. I never thought that A Beautiful Mind meant: a man troubled by paranoid schizophrenia, delusional episodes and a wife who had to endure all this hardship. This film was released in 2001, I, only got to watch it for the first time 3 weeks ago. I can safely say that on my day off those were two hours well spent. From the beginning to the end I was visually arrested, intellectually engaged and, most of all, sartorially intrigued.









I was completely taken by the story and plot. I know that if I had watched this film when it came out I would not have appreciated or noticed the wardrobe. Throughout the whole film the autumn/ winter wardrobe was adventurous and complimentary. In one scene where Nash and Hansen play a board game, in full view of the other class mates, the characters are dressed in warm winter coats: a 3/4 long tweed coat, a toggle coat, an anorak jacket. Nash is in what looks like a double breasted, belted pea coat with a black contrast collar like a chesterfield. I couldn't get enough of the autumn/ winter scenes. Later on in the film an elderly Nash is resplendent in a simple mackintosh coat. Which I interpret to be a reference to what his life had become: simple.


The sartorial highlight of the film for me is the first date that Nash and his then student Alicia go on. A black tie affair. The pinnacle of this scene is where Nash is about to take a photo with some colleagues and Alicia notices that something is amiss with Nash's attire. A crisp white pocket square. The way she retrieves it from her bag, the manner in which she folds it and finally how she places it in his breast pocket. At this point in the film I was really making a connection to how women really want a man with a beautiful mind and the lyric I opened with.

In closing I would like to say that this film was also about Alicia having a beautiful mind. For a woman to stand by a man with what seems to be a mental illness and commit him to a mental institution, knowing that it's for his own good, has to take someone with A Beautiful Mind.


PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Guan Panamera

For me a car is a necessity. I consider it to be something I need to get from point A to point B. Its looks are hardly a make or break for me. Just as long as I have reached my destination, safely, I'm fine. No car, however, has captured my imagination and senses quite like the new 2010 Porsche Panamera. More than anything  love how it appeals to me with its sports features tempered with family car sensibilities. I mean, the car is a 5 door coupe with enough room to house four adults or two adults and kids in the back. I thought I loved the Cayenne but...











The family car aesthetics are all there and that's what I love most about it. Sans the high speed, I embrace everything about this vehicle. Beautiful, plush interior, smooth finishes on the woodgrain and the all important leg room. In the front and back seats. GPS, multifunction gear, leather interior, headrest dvd screens, back seat centre console. Feel free to add more. This is the ultimate in family car style.

For now I'll stick to trying to seeing this beaut on a Durban road.


PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Monday, August 2, 2010

In the absence of the real thing, Improvise

Regular readers of this blog, Perfect Gentleman SA, will know that I am a sucker for knit ties. Whether they be in wool or silk, they are my favourite form of neck wear. Today while putting together my clothes for work I opted for my silk knit tie as the complementary neck wear. It is very light weight and therefore flails a lot if not kept in place with a tie bar. One problem though, I have one tie bar, in gold, and it would definitely break the flow of silver and stainless steel metals I was wearing. I haven't had the opportunity to find a place that sells tie bars and cufflinks separately, thus I am stuck with silver/ stainless steel cufflinks but no matching tie bars. I tried buttoning the jacket but the tie still found a way to swing around and lose its position.


What saved the lack of a very important accessory merely a non descript, indispensible, hair clip belonging to my wife. I have always mulled over whether this little piece of metal could work as a tie bar. Today was the day that I finally put the concept into motion. When I first picked it up it was covered in the conventional black coat that most hair clips are manufactured.


Removing the black coat of paint was easy. I tried a little steel wool, which was rather unfriendly to the touch. Next I tried a mini steak knife and, applying soft strokes to the metal proved to be the trick as all the paint came off. A little polish with a cloth in the end rendered my mission complete. The concept finally brought to fruition.


That gold tie bar would've messed everything up in a major way. Especially taking into consideration that all my metals, belt buckle and ring, were in silver and stainless steel. The tie bar had no choice but to follow suit. As for keeping the tie in line and in position, this little piece of metal did just what I expected it to.

Another concept that I have been mulling for a long time is taking a money clip and having it cut into varying lengths and fashioned into tie bars. The one important lesson I have learnt about men's style is that there are those rare pieces which can be  recylced and remixed.


PG: Man to man, generation to generation.