Friday, September 9, 2011

Five Spring Essentials For Men

Gentlemen, spring is upon us and it seems to have totally diminished the cold weather from the past three months. The mornings and evenings, however, still have that residual, lingering chill that connotes a winter that just won’t go away. During the day it’s straight up warm accompanied by that musty humidity that coerces you to take a midday shower, if necessary. To counter the heat and humidity you need some season/ climate appropriate essentials that will ease you into spring and transition mellifluously into summer. The way I see it these are some of the items you need in rotation, now that it’s spring:

Light-weight cardigan

The cold isn’t exactly out yet, especially in the early mornings and evenings. So, to keep the slight chill away and your upper body warm, a bright, light-weight cardigan should do the trick. Bright colours such as aqua, turquoise, fuchsia, magenta, lavender, yellow, etc, will evoke the air of spring, and this will exude in your dress code. Pastel colours will be more apt for summer.

 In my humble opinion, a cardigan works better than a v-neck cardigan, because your body and immediate temperature can be regulated by buttoning or unbuttoning the cardigan. If it gets a little stuffy then opening the cardigan will suffice. There is no need to take the whole thing off because this creates more baggage. When the slight, breezy chill makes a return, then buttoning the cardigan will restore you to warmth. This type of cardigan is made of light wool or a wool-cotton mix, and can be dressed for work, with a tie, and over a button-down shirt over the weekend.

A new fragrance
Nothing says new season, a fresh start, lighter dressing, the old has gone, the new has come, than a new fragrance. A fresh, sweet and curious scent. Something like Carolina Herrera’s new, CH Men. This cologne has singlehandedly relegated my winter fragrance, which I used to wear deep into spring as well, to the back of the closet because this fragrance, CH Men, pretty much blew me away.

It’s supplanted the old fragrance I use in winter and will be a mainstay for years to come.I’m not adept at describing things; therefore I can’t really describe what this scent is like. All I can say, like Mary J. Blige, is that it is sweet and fresh, and the slight citrusy scent has a wonderful and incredible lingering effect. If you’re looking for a head turner, nostril glommer; then this is the fragrance for you.

Canvas sneaker

This is nothing new, every stylish gent out there knows that when it’s spring the boots are locked away and the lighter, softer shoes make a comeback; like canvas sneakers. In this case I would like to plead a case for the navy blue Converse All Star Chuck Taylor lo’s. All the walking in the concrete jungle can be done in these sneaks. Soft, easy, flexible, comfortable and stylish, it doesn’t get better than that. Not forgetting

that these sneakers are a great addition to weekend wear, because in this colour they coordinate well and complement a variety of clothing combinations. They are my pick for spring 2011, over and above, say…navy blue Jack Purcell’s. I like Chuck Taylor’s because they are slimmer and stand more to the ground than Purcell’s.

Brighter Chinos

The first time I ever heard the word Nantucket was on Mase’s ‘24 hours to live’, featuring Black Rob, Puff Daddy, DMX and The Lox. Jadakiss, on his verse, says:

Yo, yo, if I had 24 hours to kick the bucket,
I'd probably eat some fried chicken, and drink in Nantucket

Only in subsequent years did I learn that Nantucket is an island south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Only after going on this sartorial journey have I learnt that there is a shade of chinos, in a faded red, pink and salmon, etc, that are known as nantucket reds.

Photo: Courtesy of Murray's Toggery Shop

Believe me, these chinos, in this shade are not garish, but rather classic style. And spring affords you the opportunity to be bold and outgoing in nantucket reds. The greatest complement of nantucket reds is a white shirt or golf shirt. Brown boat shoes seal the deal. I’m sure if you scour Durban thoroughly, or even the country, you can find this classic staple.

The shirt in giant gingham

If you’re reader of Perfect Gentleman SA, first, let me say, “Thank You.” Secondly, you know of my penchant to get things right, to name them correctly, so that I speak about them aptly, with confidence. Therefore, it’s no mystery that this shirt has been a mystery to me for years.

Its pattern is a throwback to the 80s, however it goes back to the future with its modern design; regular fit-a tailored cut with a made to measure feel. It can also most certainly be dressed up, as the image evinces. For a more weather appropriate shirt then the slub cotton shirt in giant gingham is for you.

This one by J. Crew is made of slub cotton, which entails rustic tones, a secret wash and a sanded feel to make it look like it’s been owned forever, and very spring appropriate.

I hope this information guides you in making the correct sartorial pieces in this especially tricky transitional period. For now, happy spring to you all.

                                PG: Man to man, generation to generation.


Buhle '08 said...

Great blog Mxolisi. Always riveting reading and I pick up excellent tips that have helped me out of many sartorial dilemma's.
Just wanted to tell you that you should consider entering GQ SA's Best Dress Reader competition. go to and check it out. Closing date is THIS Friday...

I met your sister and her friends in June. Twas a pleasure interviewing them.

Mxolisi Ngonelo said...

Thanks for the heads up, Buhle, albeit I'm hopelessly late. Maybe I can enter next year. I went to the GQ site and I didn't locate the reader contest. I only saw the GQ compiled list. If you have the URL please send it.

Let me also extend my gratitude and honour at being able to recognise my sister, from our surname, I surmise. You are one sharp individual.