Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Nothing Enervates Me Quite Like...

...jackets with no pocket flaps. Especially if it's not a tux or dinner jacket. I don't know why I didn't realise this at the time of purchase of this jacket. I don't understand this concept of jetted pockets on normal suit jackets. I surmise this was a trend some time ago. This past Sunday I witnessed a gentleman wearing a double breasted suit with a lower button stance. It was a 6x1, with jetted pockets. Juxtaposed with mine, on the very same day, I concluded that it must've been prevalent in the 80s, a decade when double breasted suits were the rage. The lower button stance, ventless back and jetted pockets, these were features of the suit. The aforementioned gentleman's jacket was exactly as described here.

Pocket flaps, for me, fulfill a purpose. An aesthetic one to be precise. Therefore this jacket seems imbalanced because of the glaring omission of pocket flaps. While we're on the issue I also want to explicate on the double breasted jacket and neck-tie combination. Especially where proportion of the tie width and jacket lapels are concerned.

Tie width has never been an issue when wearing a double breated jacket with a 6x2 button stance. Bar a slim tie, any other tie can work in such an ensemble because the button stance is higher and therefore allows for very little space for the tie to be displayed. On double breasted jackets with a lower button stance, whether 6x1 or 4x1 (like the one pictured), a tie with a narrow width simply doesn't work. The picture above clearly evinces this fact. Those lapels are so wide, they beat the tie into submission. The tie therefore seems like an after thought because the jacket and lapels took precedence. What would work then is a thicker, wider tie. This will ensure some semblance of symmetry and an ensemble where all your pieces get equal flourish and display.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Purple Shoes - I Got To Have Them

I interrupt the dearth in posts to present what, I believe, we all have suffered from at some stage of our lives; breaking the bank in order to make that purchase. That one purchase we believe will set us apart from the rest. Thus exponentially increasing our swagger to unreachable heights. After the purchase you almost always feel like you've conquered the world. You're the coolest thing yet. You're the man.

I've had a few good chuckles at this commercial. And the dance at the end is what makes it uniquely South African. Conversely, I think there are better options for statement shoes though, because purple AND sequined is just incredibly garish.

I'm back to regular posting tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Dad's 60th

Sometime in late June this year a multitude of my father’s friends and family gathered at the Riverside Hotel to celebrate his 60th birthday. The biggest shock for my dad was that it was a surprise party engendered by my mother. Everyone was there. His closest friends, childhood friends, extended family, his spiritual father, colleagues, church members, etc. And with my sister’s jam session mates playing the music and serenading us, everyone had a beatific time.

One thing I wasn’t quite aware of is how well dressed and stylish my brother is. The modern migrant labour system has taken him 650km away from home, which means we see each other for a modicum of time periodically. Sometimes months go by without seeing each other. It’s cool though because we keep in touch otherwise.

There is an air of debonair flair in the way that he dresses. I had the pleasure of witnessing his dress sense over a five day period and I must say; his style has evolved some, with no hints of levity. Every one of his ensembles is well considered and balanced. Not edgy at all, he projects his creativity in his colourful socks, pocket squares and time pieces. Consider this ensemble pictured: a tailored black double breasted pin stripe suit and black patent leather shoes. The purple bow tie was totally tangential, for me; something I didn't expect. His watch is by Ingersoll. Even though he wasn’t wearing a pocket square, it is inconsequential because keeping his outfit dark and black propitiated on his behalf. I read all over the internet about a sartorial style called hi-lo. The mixing of high and low end brands in an outfit. Our styles are a definite dichotomy; he’s hi and I’m lo.

I can't believe he's taller than me. I'll still post him up though.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Hurry Up And Buy

I would like to take this opportunity to disabuse all Durban gentlemen on a half-truth that has been perpetuated for a very long time. There is no mild winter in Durban anymore. It is cold. It can get bitterly cold. And one day I expect for snowflakes to fall. When foreigners state that our winters feel like summer to them, don’t fall for that. The weather pattern has changed drastically over the last 10 years. And it would behove any gent to take heed, and take the necessary steps in acquiring some heavy outerwear, in the form of a coat. The wet precipitation that has been accompanying the cold weather also means that you can look at a variety of styles and designs. For now get a coat that can protect and insulate you from the cold.

Three tips when purchasing a coat:
Fit is important as the correct fit lends itself to the overall balance of your outfit. One size up is the best option. You want the coat to fit seamlessly over a thick knit as well as it would over a suit.

Colour is what keeps you from falling outside the parameters of guided style. Your safest options are navy, black and charcoal. The aforementioned colours are for the novice. Camel- beige for the pro, and plaid and other patters for the seasoned vet.

The length of your coat is what sets you apart from antiquated styles and the more contemporary progressive ones. The older generation, much like father, still prefer the extra long coat that goes way beyond the knee and into shin territory. The newer styles are geared more towards the younger generation go above the knee. Not too far high, so as to not accommodate a jacket though. Therefore think along these lines when purchasing a coat. Next season, I promise, to delve into the myriad styles and types of coats available. For now, I hope this helps,

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Perfect Gentleman Goes Dining

On Wednesday evening I had the pleasure of attending a wonderful evening of enlightening and spirited conversation, mouth watering cuisine and inspiring company. Our host, the animated, effervescent and highly affable Russel Hlongwane, the founder of the Fork, Knife and Glass Diner’s Club and its subsequent eponymous blog, was on hand to receive us all as his guests. This Dinner club is his brainchild and is nothing short of an innovative paradigm shift when it comes to dining in Durban.

The basic concept of the Diner’s Club is: a group of individuals accede to an invitation to attend every first Wednesday of the month. This goes down at a different eatery every time. These restaurants are sometimes new to the attendees, much like the Wodka Restaurant and Bar. Nestled on the ground floor of the Signature Life Hotel on Mahatma Gandhi Road. For a flat fee of R120, guests get to enjoy a three course meal. I’ve discovered something about cuisine and dining, something that has always addled me; why are portions so small? Are they filling? Satisfying? But then it dawned on me that cuisine and fine dining comes in small portions because it’s about the quality of the food, and not the quantity. It’s about savouring the food, teasing the palate, relishing the taste and leaving space for the other courses. Russel guffawed at my theory but also agreed that it is true. It’s not about mountain heaps on your plate, but small manageable portions. It’s intrinsically healthy, too.

I absolutely enjoyed the Couscous Tabbouleh salad so much, that I incorporated it into my main course of pan seared Line fish marinated in lemon and dill, finished with Chardonnay. All of this on a fluffy and inconspicuous bed of mash.

For dessert, I had the perplexing task of choosing between Lemon and Basil cheese cake or Espresso Crème Brule with Macadamia Biscotti, after some time I settled on the latter. And I was not disappointed with my choice. What didn’t agree with my palate was the smoked salmon, especially because I surmise it was raw. I don't do raw, medium, medium rare, etc. I like my food well done. I really don't understand the hype about salmon.

The ambience, a milieu that allows for the free flow of innovative ideas is what the dining experience is all about. Especially when coupled with the fact that the diners are somewhat strangers to each other. It was inspiring, really. I was in conversation with a lady from the Eastern Cape and she intimated to me how she desires to go back to the Eastern Cape and work towards rebuilding and redeveloping it. It’s probably the poorest province in South Africa.

For this event I decided on being formal in dress. Grey trousers, a white shirt, a blue blazer with gold buttons and a red tie. Accessories included a gold collar pin, black mock-croc loafers and a woven black leather belt. The Fork Knife and Glass Dinner Club and the Wodka Restaurant and Bar get a thumbs up from Perfect Gentleman. This experience was well worth it.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Big Shoes To Fill, And Big Pants

So, part of the process of going back home is the fact that you will always find things that have a direct reference to your past, your upbringing, memories, etc. You know, life's vagaries. It has been no different with me, especially after serendipitously finding a photo album my mom has been looking for, for a while. So, I came across this picture of Mfingwane; a great-grandfather from my maternal side who, according to my mother, was a sharp dresser. She even intimated to me about another picture she misplaced of Mfingwane and his wife going to the horse race track, and how they were well styled and dressed. This particular picture was taken in 1968, and after gleaning it for a while, I couldn't help but exclaim at his wearing a pocket square. Much in the same way, these days, I also stop, stare and appreciate whenever I witness a senior citizen well dressed in seemingly an unconscious and oblivious way.

I, therefore, have big shoes to fill. No doubt. If my great-grandfather could dress well with such effortless ease and aplomb, then I'm sure there is way more hope for me. From man to man, generation to generation, style definitely runs in my family.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Monday, August 1, 2011

My First Time Packing Aptly

My family and I are away this week, and with this trip in mind I took the conscious decision to pack exactly what I needed and for what purpose. Let me explicate the aforementioned statement. Going away for 7 days can be refreshing for anybody. The daunting and labourious part is not knowing what to pack, for what reason. In order to navigate and complete this task in a sating manner I had to consider what and why I packed the items I did. First, the weather was a vital component of the packing process. With this week’s weather being predominantly warm, quite conventional for a Durban winter, I decided on mixing light and heavy fabrics. The lightweight’s for day wear. The heavies for the evenings.  This week, therefore, my plan is to take you through three outfits that I chose and packed meticulously in order to ensure a sartorially hassle free week.

For this post, since it’s a Monday, I had a few errands to run in town during the day. Since it’s been a warm day I decided on this grey, one button cotton jacket. Very practical for this weather, especially where comfort is concerned. These navy blue, rice stripe trousers were the perfect complement to the jacket and the brown and navy, windowpane check, button down shirt. Purpose, therefore, is important to justify why you’re packing a particular outfit or item of clothing. I am also attending two functions therefore my packing has been specifically geared towards this.

I gave my chocolate brown cap-toe, lace up shoes a much needed polish. This breathed new life into them. The high shine and finish is not clearly seen in this picture. I guess, this was a first of many things though. I also attempted a three-point fold for my pocket square. Something I've never tried before. The outcome? Satisfactory.

The packing of this outfit was meticulous to the tee. Even the socks were an indispensable consideration. I remember the days when packing for going away meant a slew of t-shirts, a bunch of shoes, shorts, caps, jeans and a few jackets. Now that was simple, and even stylish in my estimation back then. However, as a style conscious gent; packing now entails even greater simplicity and limitless style.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.