Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Derek Rose On Mr. Porter

Derek Rose Lightweight Cotton Bathrobe £224.12

This post can easily go one of two ways; either it'll look out of place on this blog and more suited on Flawless Crowns or, the name Derrick Rose is beguiling enough to conjure up thoughts of the $94 million guard of the Chicago Bulls. I have been reading quite a fair amount about the website Mr. Porter, and while searching for some velvet slippers the first link I clicked led to Mr. Porter. Then my search directed me to these beautiful dressing gowns and bathrobes by British design house Derek Rose.

Derek Robe Towelling Bathrobe £109

I had to quickly make the distinction and deduced that this is not the Derek Rose I'm thinking of. However, I couldn't help but feel attracted to these gowns and bathrobes. I like the fact that the price points go from affordable to high end, making them accessible to all kinds of gents. Believe me, even for a South African, I can definitely afford the bathrobes within the £100 range. I often ask myself the question why most of these stylish gentleman obsess about their appearance even at home on a weekend. It's because our clothing and style can be very functional, comfortable and stylish at the same time.

Derek Robe Towelling Bathrobe £108.68

So, as we head into the new year consider a more stylish wardrobe in as far as loungewear and nightwear is concerned. This isn't only a mandate for you, it applies to me as well.

Derek Rose Cashmere Dressing Gown £2, 933. 33

A little bit about Derek Rose with reference to the gowns and robes, taken from Mr. Porter: DEREK ROSE is a family business, based on Savile Row in London, specialising in top-quality nightwear and loungewear. Only the finest materials are used, and all patterns and textiles are designed in-house. Over the years Derek Rose has supplied royalty, film stars and music legends. The right pyjamas can imbue the wearer with a timeless masculine elegance. Plus, it is always worth looking good at night – you never know when the fire alarm will go off.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Pastor Said Not To Wear A Necktie

For our Christmas service at our church, we were instructed to dress down. Smart-casual was the memo. And it was stated quite emphatically that no necktie necessary for the gents. I opted, therefore, for this combination of a cotton shirt, no...it's not denim, and this black, two-button linen jacket. A talking point in the past two weeks, however, has been this Polo button on the lapel. When I relayed the story to a friend of mine, at a wedding two weeks ago, that I retrieved the button from a pair of soft leather Polo shoes that I threw out after wearing them to death, he just simply laughed. After making the decision to throw the shoes out I decided to cut out the Polo buttons because I deemed them serviceable, especially at a later stage. Fast forward to the past two weeks, and I've managed to use them as lapel decorations on my jackets. As minute as they may appear, they are both visually arresting and a great talking point. The first question has been, "now where in the world did you get the Polo button?" The answer, naturally, has been met with incredulous guffaws and stares. This is definitely my latest obsession in sartorial quirks. I'm trying to personalise this style of mine, and I'm learning and loving every minue of it. Merry and blessed Christmas, everybody. Now for that Magic, Thunder game.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Last Minute Christmas Shopping For Him: Panama Hat

Deventio Men's Panama Hat R499

If you're looking for the perfect headgear for summer, whether for yourself, another gentleman, or trying to guide your significant other in the right direction, then this panama hat is the best item your Christmas bonus can buy. I can't think of a more stylish item to protect and cover your head with than this panama obtainable from Cape Union Mart. Available in a cream shade it is the best complement to most summer outfits; whether dressed up or dressed down, this panama hat is the perfect accessory. A panama offers a gentleman a great opportunity to achieve a distinctive elegance, and even though a first time wearer will feel self-conscious, over time the hat will feel natural. So, to the beach, a braai, an afternoon at the upcoming cricket or the Hazelmere Dam Jazz festival, you're covered, literally. This is a wise choice especially because it is essential, functional and stylish.
PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Shorts And How To Wear Them

There is no better time to experiment with different types of garments like in summer. This presents you with the opportunity to try certain looks and combinations. One such combination has always been shorts with a jacket. Because it is a look I avoided in the past, I felt compelled to try it this time because I want to dispel the notion that shorts only belong with a t-shirt. Summer style in this part of the world can be so slovenly because of the unbearable heat and humidity. But like I was saying to someone, about a month ago, we shouldn't resign ourselves to mundane and sometimes unkempt looks just because it's summer. There are stylish options, and as always one needn't break the bank.

Everyone of my South African readers knows a clothing retail chain known as Meltz. Well, that's where I purchased these khaki shorts by GAP. If you're looking for shorts, right now, then you should head on over to your nearest MELTZ and I guarantee you will find a pair. Long time readers will know that I lionize above the knee shorts, any day, all day. Especially as a 33 year old. I assure you that you will not see me in a pair of shorts that go below the knee; unless they are basketball shorts and I'm on my way to the gym. If these shorts had been any longer, even hitting just at the knee, I would've had them tailored and shortened.

It's a casual outfit therefore this brown leather D-ring belt is apt. A grey and blue striped, one button jacket from Fashion Fusion is complemetary, especially because of its seemingly cropped look. It proportions exceptionally well with the shorts. The footwear is a pair of two-tone (chocolate brown and black) kiltie/ tassel loafers.

With this look I decided to keep the khaki shorts and then added a blue and white striped shirt, and this navy blue, double breasted jacket with gold buttons. In hindsight I feel I should've gone with white or striped espadrilles, and not brown horse-bit loafers. Just so as to keep the nautical theme going.

As much as this is a beach look. I can't go in the water in these shorts because they aren't for swimming. Derived from an erstwhile pair of trousers, these are my first ever above the knee pair of shorts. I could definitely attend a beach party or soiree on a yacht in this outfit. The low neckline of the t-shirt almost precludes the wearing of said t-shirt anywhere else except the beach or other similar milieus.

The Natural Aristocrat and Kleidsam will remember this double breasted seersucker jacket. They made it known that I had unearthed a gem. I had it fixed, adjusted, had the sleeves let out, and dry cleaned. A piece thrifted for R10, it was definitely a bargain.

I deceided to pair these two separate pieces together because of their similar fabric; cotton. The shorts by Dockers are the shortest I have. It's funny that almost a year ago I couldn't even fit in them because of some careless weight gain. Now they zip and fasten mellifluously. I paired this casual, unconstructed, unlined jacket with these shorts because of their faded navy blue shade. And since it came out well, a suit comprising shorts and a jacket shouldn't be too far behind. 

I think for someone who lives in a coastal city, the more nautical my summer footwear, the better. I can't help but feel that I may have erred with these brown loafers. It seems that espadrilles or boat shoes would've been right and exact.

Finally, it would be egregiously remiss of me to not represent my sandals wearing brothers. From the old school to the new, sandals are a footwear staple in most men's wardrobes. Take a walk around Durban and you're sure to find sandals on a lot of men's feet. Even the traditional Zulu sandals are a feature. Tucking the golfer/ polo in is a stylish secret privy to us all. 

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Case For Poly Viscose

I've heard it all before. Fabrics ideal for summer so as to survive the heat are cotton, linen, poplin, seersucker and some lightweight wool. What I've never heard mentioned is polyviscose. In my humble opinion, it is a front runner in the summer beaters category. Mind you, my experience with this fabric thus far has been unintentional and unwitting. I never knew when I purchased the above pictured trousers that they were in a polyviscose blend. All I knew was that they fit very well, draped accordingly and incredibly breathable.

Polyviscose is a rayon fabric made from cellulose ester (obtained by treating cellulose with caustic soda). Viscose fabrics have a silky to matte luster with a elegant flowing drape. The natural effect of the colours gives them an attractive look. Viscose is supple and has a softness that is comfortable to wear. As they can absorb perspiration quite quickly, it makes them very skin friendly, but with poor thermal properties.

Because polyester has a reputation as a cantankerous fabric; not friendly on the skin, heavy and slippery as well (something I can attest to), I find that when blended with other fabrics, polyester has ameliorated. Even the feel and look has improved.

I've come to enjoy and respect this fabric, because of its functional qualities and the fact that it doesn't wrinkle. In the absence of linen, poplin, seersucker and the ilk, polyviscose has filled the void functionally and aesthetically.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Pleats And Cuff Debate

I was having a conversation with a close friend of mine, not so long ago, when he relayed to his fiancee that I wear pleated trousers with no cuff, or turn-ups as we South Africans call them. Upon hearing this assertion I immediately deduced that he was inferring that I might be trangressing a sartorial rule. A rule, it appears, I have been trangressing for the longest time. On the surface trousers with pleats should be complemented by cuffs, conversely, flat front trousers generally shouldn't have a cuff. However, times change, rules are broken and fashion has evolved into personal and subjective extensions. This has culminated in pleated trousers without cuffs, and flat front trousers with cuffs. As egregious as this may seem there is allowance for both styles to co-exist interchangeably, on one garment, too.

A transient dive into the history of cuffs reveals that cuffs are of Anglo-American origin; while the origin of flat front trousers are considered continental European. As subjective and personal style can be it is important that adherence to sartorial rules occurs, because the discerning eye privy to such seemingly indispensable details will know that the mixing of these two styles should be executed with caution. Cuffs with flat front trousers can be worn quite well. We should, therefore, be disabused from the notion that flat front trousers shouldn't have cuffs and pleated trousers should have. A learning point for me lies in the fact that a middle ground exists wherein single pleat trousers are considered versatile and can accommodate cuffs or not.

Another rule to be cognizant of is the functionality of pleats. Pleats are there to facilitate a fuller shape, and since cuffs add weight to the bottom of trousers they make pleats stand out. What about suits? I may have erred on this one too. In my estimation, since a suit is considered formal and conservative, it follows that pleated suit pants should have a cuff and suit pants without pleats shouldn't have cuffs. This makes sense especially when considering the overall aesthetic which includes the cut of the suit. Winter weights such as flannels, tweeds, worsted wools are handsomely complemented by cuffs. Summer weights such as linens, tropical wools, cottons, should be straight with a taper. You will find that even summer footwear is accommodated by the tapered trousers. Generally, cuffed trousers will have a single break and the uncuffed will have a slight or no break at all.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Kiltie Loafers

It would appear that men's loafers have evolved so much over the years, that said evolution has precipitated the demise of kiltie loafers. The original kiltie loafers with a kiltie acoss the the vamp of a shoe sans tassels, I just don't see them anymore. My interest lies in the fact that my father wore a pair of black kiltie loafers in the eighties, both formally and casually. Everytime I'm home I always see a picture of him in white trousers, sky blue socks, a red and navy blue raglan sleeve sweater and said black kiltie loafers. What appeals mostly to me is the rounded toe of the shoes that borders on a pointy toe; far from the above image of a visibly broad rounded toe. It's still a kiltie loafer nonetheless. My go to ensemble includes shorts, however, in jeans or trousers the leg opening should be tapered for greater display of the shoes. I'm still on the lookout for a pair which espouses all the features that my father's had, for now however, I'll just sit and wait expectantly.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Wordsworth With MaXhosa By Laduma Knitwear

Astrid Arndt photography

This is a proudly South African moment for me. Having first encountered Laduma Ngxokolo in the July/ August issue of GQ SA, I have made many attempts to get in touch with him. Finally, we started conversing and I have managed to pick his brain on his innovative knitwear. Needless to say, he has taken the South African fashion industry by storm because his garments and designs are a confluence of modern styling and traditional Xhosa aesthetics. His foray into Xhosa inspired knitwear is as a result of the disconnect he discerned between producing high quality knitwear for Xhosa men and the fact that said knitwear has to be imported. Ngxokolo had young Xhosa men, who go through the rite of passage of circumcision, in mind when he designed his range. He states quite matter-of-factly that "I concentrate on the celebration side of the ritual. After a man is initiated, he gets a whole new wardrobe. I created my range with them in mind."

Ross Adami photography

Having also been the recipient of the prestigious Society and Colourists' 2010 Design Award, MaXhosa sold out at the Design Indaba, and also looks set for inroads into the international scene. Innovative, precocious, eloquent, studious and self-deprecating; in a Perfect Gentleman SA first, it gives me great pleasure to present to you an interview with MaXhosa knitwear founder and designer, Laduma Ngxokolo.

Simon Deiner photography

Q: What is the main inspiration behind Maxhosa knitwear?

During the 2010 Soccer World Cup a collection of traditional Xhosa beadwork dating back to the 1800’s was exhibited in the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum in PE. When I saw this collection I just knew it would be the ultimate solution for my 2010 BTech research I was doing at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University at the time. My mission was to develop a range of Xhosa-inspired men’s knitwear for Xhosa initiates to substitute the knitwear styles they are currently wearing for their Xhosa initiation ritual, which bear no resemblance of Xhosa tradition. So in a nutshell, MaXhosa knitwear is inspired by the patterns, hues and the particular colour schemes used in traditional Xhosa beadwork.

Q: Take us through the entire process when making one of your garments?

My design process starts from sourcing inspiration then developing motifs which I will turn into knitwear patterns after that I source mohair and wool yarn locally, knitting up fabric panels to test aesthetics and then produce the final piece.

Q: How have your garments been received in South Africa? Conversely, how have they been received internationally?

My knitwear was very well received in South Africa from all types of race and culture group, I think that was because everyone could somehow relate to the designs because they know where they are rooted and I was obviously there to explain in detail. The collection is at least beginning to draw attention internationally and so far it has surprised many who saw the designs and they can relate to the designs as well because it is something they haven’t seen before.
Simon Deiner

Q: You are a strong proponent of buying and supporting local, why is it to important to buy and support local?

The South African textile and fashion manufacturing industry is going through a difficult time every year, tons of jobs are lost when big companies liquidate. With that being said I think it is important for us South African designers to establish distinctive authentic products that can be produced locally, using the resources that are available locally, in my case mohair wool, to create sustainable projects that will not be taken away from us.

Q: What garments comprise Maxhosa knitwear right now?

We’ve got cardigans, pullovers, shawl collar jerseys, v-neck and crewneck jerseys.

Simon Deiner

Q: Do you plan on expanding into accessories, like scarves, beanies, etc?

For now we’re just specialising in men’s knitwear, but as time passes we would love to stretch the   concept to other clothing items like shirts, pants, jackets and even interior accessories.

Simon Deiner

Simon Deiner

Q: Men's clothing is expensive in South Africa. What is the price range of your knitwear?

Because the style of my knitwear is quite extravagant, the price range of my collection is between R950 – R2500.

Q: What is your ultimate mission and vision for the future regarding Maxhosa knitwear by Laduma Ngxokolo?

My ultimate long term vision is to establish MaXhosa by Laduma as a premium quality heritage brand that can sell on the local and international market for the next decades.

Simon Deiner

Simon Deiner

Simon Deiner

Simon Deiner

Simon Deiner

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Game Recognise Game: Perfect Gentleman SA In Cleo Magazine

Seriously this, for me, came out of left field. I remember reading an article about how Elton Brand came to the Chicago Bulls after Michael Jordan had retired, the second time; and how this was equal to him arriving after the show, the hotel lobby, and the after-party. This is just how I felt after seeing and reading an article by Maque Degorgeous wherein this blog was mentioned as one of his top 10 blogs. It just so happened that maybe a month and a half ago I had taken my niece to the doctor and while waiting for the doctor to arrive I reached for a Cleo magazine. All the other magazines seemed boring. This one stood out because it had good-girl-turned-bad, Rihanna, on the cover, and that I had never browsed an issue. So as I got to perusing, reading, gleening, I missed a part on the cover where it stated that this was the blogger's issue. As I continued to read I noticed a thick section within the magazine about anything and everything related to blogging. I had to stop, read and absorb. I'm a blogger after all. Towards the end of the supplement there it was, in bold letters "The 10 Blogs: that all fashionistas should visit." I seriously, literally, had to take a moment to soak it all in. I was incredulous; my blog in a magazine? An internationally recognised magazine no-less. I was totally blown away. What started off as a labour of love is starting to morph into a precocious child worthy of some recognition. So, this is my thank you. Thanks to Cleo magazine, Maque Degorgeous, and everyone else who has started to read and follow this blog after this particular mention. You may ask yourself about the Elton Brand analogy; this particular Cleo magazine was an issue from June/ July. I only came across this particular article some time in October, after all the hype had dissipated but the love very much abounds.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

From The Blackpool Of Style: Amen

This post is a long time coming. The SABC has been grappling with financial woes for the past 3 years. Consequently, this has left the corporation in a bad way, so much so that its programming has become redundant and desultory. Honestly, I don't know why I have to pay my TV license when two episodes of Everybody Hates Chris are foisted on me twice a week. One is enough, really. But then again as the viewing audience what do we expect from a corporation that made losses totaling R910 million in one financial year. Word is, there is some semblance of financial improvement. I'll believe it, however, when I see it. Which means the programming must once again be attractive, interesting and consistent. Just because there's talk of improvement, especially in its finances, doesn't mean that success is fait accompli.

I'm sure everyone remembers TV shows such as Good Times, 227, Diff'rent Strokes, The Jefferson's, Sanford and Son, The Cosby Show, ADifferent World, etc. These are all shows I grew up on. Some were first aired in the 70s, however, I got a taste of them in the 80s. The SABC's programming was pretty much satisfactory in those days, even though media freedom was fettered and to an extent controlled. In its impecunious state the present day SABC literally went for broke and brought us AMEN! Twice a week, from 11:30 am to 12pm, we are treated to half an hour of wit, humour and sartorial brilliance. The cast and acting aside, this show is probably the most sartorially stimulating I have ever witnessed. The wardrobe is nothing short of impeccable and indelible. The main character and star of the show is Sherman Hemsley. Yes, the one and only 'Mr. Jefferson' from 'The Jefferson's'. In this role he plays the character of Ernest Frye, church deacon, shrewd lawyer, single father, cunning friend, austere father-in-law, serial seducer, and an all round funny guy. Mr. Hemsley's transition from George Jefferson to deacon Frye is so mellifluous, as if this and other roles he's played were tailor made for him. Even though the show is set around the First Community Church of Philadelphia, it doesn't come off as preachy or pious. In fact, in as much as there are scenes shot inside the church, actual church service scenes are very sparse.

The show also stars Clifton Davis who plays the moral and upright Reverend Reuben Gregory. A young and likeable Anna Maria Horsford playing the role of Thelma Frye, daughter to deacon Frye, and later, Reuben’s love interest. A pair of loud, chattering sisters is played by Roz Ryan (you may remember her as Anthony Anderson’s mother on ‘All About the Anderson’s) and Barbara Montgomery. They play Amelia and Cassietta Hetebrink, respectively. They are always on hand to help with church matters and also proffer relationship advice to Thelma whenever she is in need. The incisive, reasonable and stoic Rolly Forbes is played by Jester Hairston. Already a senior citizen in the show, he is a beacon of equanimity whenever the whole crew is faced with a stressful situation.  A perpetually sharp and smart dresser, you will never see him without a pocket square, it forms an integral part of his attire. In my book, he is my pick for best dressed on the show.

Sartorially the wardrobe seems to be well arranged and each male character has his own unique style. Rolly Forbes is always in a single breasted suit, if not a three piece; well proportioned and balanced. The reverend Gregory has a penchant for mixing and matching. He hardly wears a suit, but prefers rather to mix sport jackets with trousers and then accessorise appropriately with a tie and pocket handkerchief.  Because he is always visiting the Frye’s at their home there are many scenes where he is entering or leaving, therefore a trench coat or some form of overcoat is always utilised. In as far as the deacon is concerned; the character straddles deacon and attorney quite deftly. Maybe as a sign of the times he has a particular interest in double breasted suits, the 6x2 kind. This, I surmise, denotes his position of power, both in the church and professionally. He also dabbles in mixing and matching, albeit rare.

There is a scene where they wore tuxedos and the attire was on point; replete with white folded pocket squares and boutonnieres.  Another scene depicted them as high rollers attending a live show featuring one of their own, Amelia Hetebrink. Set in a night club, deacon Frye was in a top coat with a fur collar, white french cuff shirt, a hat, and an ebullient pocket handkerchief.

The show also features prominent black actors and actresses in cameo roles, all of them having a thing or two to do with the Frye’s and their close circle. One character with a recurring role is the Reverend Didymo, played by Eric Christmas, who also played Father Francis on Days of our Lives (talk about being typecast). He plays the gullible reverend Didymo who always falls victim to the deacon’s scheming which results in them landing in precarious situations. RichardRoundtree also features playing a strict, abrasive and steely army drill sergeant. When reverend Gregory is perpetually undecided about marrying Thelma, especially after he faints at the altar just before saying ‘I do’, Thelma bolts for the army in order to forget about him, his inveterate indecisiveness and nurse her broken heart. Needless to say, Thelma and the drill sergeant butt heads on more than one occasion, to the chagrin of her father and fiancé. Their attempts at intervening in the situation, however, fall through even when they disguise themselves as women coming to Thelma’s rescue.  More cameos can be evinced in the pictures below.

There’s something I lionize with the Thelma character; it is the consistency in her inflection. This can be found in a myriad of roles Horsford has played over her acting career. And only the ‘pious’ reverend Gregory manages to be impervious to the mawkish advances of a lovesick Thelma, during their courtship and marriage. This is something natural in her voice, but I feel that she is able to use it in such a way that the characters she plays are believable and honest.

The recycling of actors or actresses in the film industry is often decried because this closes the door on new, young, up and coming ones. I feel, however, that in some instances this is needed so that there this continuity in quality TV shows. This is also the case in the South African context, but that’s a post for another day. I absolutely love this show because it embodies what is lacking in contemporary TV shows. As for the sartorial aspect; AMEN is a perennial winner.

 Believe it or not this is James Avery with a toupee. At some point in the show he, playing the part of Rev. Crawford, and the deacon were competing, vying for a senor position in the church after the impending retirement of Rev. Didymo. The toupee blew me away because it seemed to denote that he's been balding for a long time.

Old man Rolly Forbes doesn't have much lines in each episode, however, he has the most sardonic rebuttals and one liners I have ever heard. Although the voice of reason no one is exempt from his sarcasm. The lady in this particular frame I recognised from an episode of the Steve Harvey, wherein she played a judge.

 This gentleman played a role on The Cosby Show was Dr. Huxtable's father. Note the 2 inch cuff, double breasted pin stripe suit, and the white point collar shirt.

 I love this kid, lil' Chris, always getting thrown out...

 ...for sticking his nose in grown folks' business and doing it in a caustic manner.

 The First Community Church of Philadelphia. Incredibly dramatic scenes were shot in the church, including a little dabbling with televangelism.

                                                              The beautiful...

The exuberant...

  ...loud, earsplitting, deafening, sonorous, incomparable, inimitable, Jackée Harry.

                                             PG: Man to man, generation to generation