One challenge for me throughout the hot weather is perspiration brought about by the wristwatch I wear. It's always resulted in beads of sweat dripping from my wrist. This can have an adverse effect on one's skin or the metal or leather the strap is made of. A great alternative, which hasn't caught on in South Africa, is a NATO strap.
NATO straps, no doubt, have a casual yet preppy look, and they blend in wonderfully with summer. Although they were 'first' used on classic dive watches and by soldiers as a cheap, durable means to strap on a watch, it has definitely made forays into classic menswear and fine dressing.
Because of the array of colour straps available this is the perfect accessory to a casual ensemble. Even suited it can work because how it complements your suit is largely dependent on the texture of the suit. However with a casual dress code it is right at home because you get to work it into your ensemble.
I think what's also important is proportion. A NATO strap is not going to work with one of those big face watches. So, keeping it in proportion is important because nothing comes off garish and showy.
This particular model by Daniel Wellington features a gold buckle and is one size fits all. One feature I am averse to is the process of changing the straps. I don't like complicated things, and the process of changing straps seems arduous and painstaking. The Daniel Wellington NATO strap however is described as interchangeable and simply slide through the pins on the Daniel Wellington watch with no tools required.
With a casual ensemble, I like a NATO strap with a polo/ golfer, jeans or chinos, and canvas sneakers or suede shoes. A cotton or linen suit will also fare well with a NATO strap. It's fun, playful and colourful, and this should be evident in your outfit as well.
They come in a variety of colours and meet the dimension of most watches, complement a myriad of belts and shoes, add refinement to the most simplest of watches, and if you search hard enough some brands offer them in leather.
In collaboration with the wonderful folks at CAT® Apparel I am hosting this blog's first ever give-away. Yes, you read right, a giveaway. And the timing is rather great because we are readying ourselves for the holiday season and Christmas. So, what better way to introduce you to the CAT Apparel brand and expressing gratitude for being a loyal reader than giving a gift to one lucky reader. Up for grabs is a R1000 CAT Apparel clothing voucher. To win this awesome prize please follow the instructions below.
*Update* Giveaway is open to South Africans only.
Do ALL of the following to WIN this awesome prize:
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Well, my CAT® Apparel Mens Filling Station Denim Jacket arrived via courier today and it's all I had hoped it would be. I'm sorry for myself for the long wait but it's finally here and I'm digging it immensely. I got an opportunity to break it in right away because Friday's weather was overcast in the morning and I definitely needed something to keep the chill at bay.
I went with a size L for this one because the previous one I had ordered was a M, and didn't fit properly. It was a tad tight in the chest and short on the sleeves. This one, in large, measures at 42cm in the chest and the sleeves are just a centimetre or two short at the wrist. Nevertheless, it's minor and it's definitely something I can overlook. Throughout the arms and chest I feel enough space to allow for movement and it is indeed a great fit.
As the pictures evince this denim jacket is the real deal. It is light weight, made from 100% cotton, and it will get a lot of wear, as outer wear and a layering piece, throughout autumn and winter because temperatures don't go very low here. There are enough pockets, six in total if you count the inner ones as well, to hold a myriad of odds and ends. I like the inner pockets because they are commodious and deep; I used them to store a handkerchief and a slim wallet. I also like the adjustable cuffs which will make wear in early summer possible, and the back waist tabs. Sizing seems to have been a crucial point during the design process.
Overall, I'm happy with the fit, design, and proportion of this denim jacket. Being in my mid 30s, I have always been under the impression that my style has to conform to a certain look, but as casual wear goes, this jacket fits right into my style. Besides, if my father could wear a denim jacket with aplomb in his younger days, then I sure can.
The versatility of white sneakers cannot be denied nor doubted, especially in summer. They are compatible with a myriad of combinations and are statement shoes without the garishness. I'm also inclined to think that you can never survive on just one pair, therefore, a healthy rotation will hold you in good stead, and various brands have not deviated from their classic design, sticking to the white canvas and contrasting rubber sole. My summer uniform will definitely consist of chinos, polos, light-weight trousers, jeans, and white sneakers. Missing from this list remains the elusive Converse Chuck Taylor white leather los. But for now indulge in these four pairs by various brands, available online at very affordable prices.
When I got interested in menswear and dressing presentably one of the important aspects of dressing well that needed serious attention was my footwear; this was about five years ago. Back then I suffered from this 'clothes for a special occasion' syndrome. I only wore certain items of clothing on special occasions or days. You would never catch me wearing a double cuff shirt during the week, it was reserved for a particular occasion or Sunday. Then, when I started learning about dressing well, my thinking changed and I embraced the idea of wearing all my clothes, all the time, no matter the day of the week. I also decided to upgrade the styles of footwear that I needed. I came across a tan captoe blucher, a burgundy captoe oxford, and a black wingtip blucher with a sharp toe. I thought I was on to a pretty good start because I was going to rotate my footwear and that they would last a long time. I use the word 'long' very loosely because I didn't bet on the fact that after five years these three pairs would start falling apart. And this deterioration is taking place at the most critical part of the shoes, the sole.
I'm not a cobbler but I surmise that my shoes cannot be repaired because glue can only hold so long until it starts wearing off, leading to a state of disrepair. See how they are all falling apart at critical parts of the shoes? The heel, sole, and the outsole. The inclusion, efficacy and strength of a welt (a strip of leather which is sewn around the bottom of a shoe) is obviated if it is glued as opposed to stitched on to the shoe.
Welt stitching is not found in mass produced shoes. You will find it with good quality shoes produced by venerable shoe companies that have knowledge and a history in the shoe making process. The the styles of shoe construction, and what it takes to construct a shoe that lasts for decades is where welt stitching is critically important.
Russell Westbrook - brown over-check on jacket, mini-gingham shirt and glasses.
One thing I'll never cease writing about is the style and fashion sense of sportsmen, particularly NBA players. I've always had my eye on their sense of style and the way they dress ever since the 1994 NBA Draft. Inside Stuff gave me an even closer and magnified look at the players' style influences, preferences and nuances. So, it's with this view in mind that I present to you a look at some of the players' style in the first week of the 2013-2014 NBA season. My main focus is what I like with each individual outfit. Some might not appeal to others, but, certain pieces in their outfits standout and are worth mentioning.
Steve Nash - yellow belt
Blake Griffin - slim black leather briefcase
Robert Sacre - classic mix of grey and tan
Antawn Jamison - Valentino bag
Wesley Johnson - Balenciaga creased leather hi-top sneakers
DeAndre Jordan - Everything: suit colour, fit, proportion between shirt, necktie, lapels; accessories, and slim black leather monkstraps.
And just for good measure a video taken from last season's playoffs; a candid discussion about playoff fashion.
Although these double monkstrap shoes by Mezlan are on sale via Gilt, I am of the firm belief that they are very appropriate for summer. They aren't made from a rugged suede which would add bulk and thus negate their use during the hot seasons. Instead they are made from a brushed suede which makes them conducive for wear during summer. I'd venture to say that even sockless they would definitely work considering their slim and narrow design, even though I'm not a fan of going sockless with dress shoes. But these are just perfect for summer, with a linen or cotton suit, silk knit tie and a light weight shirt. It's also undeniable that with jeans, shorts, chinos and whatever else, these shoes are worth their money and go above and beyond the call of duty in the style stakes.
One thing that's a challenge for me is giving gifts. I'm not good at giving gifts and I can be quite cantankerous when it comes to receiving gifts. A gift guide is the perfect aid when one embarks on the quest to being a diligent gift giver. Enter online gift guide portal for men - ENTERASE.
It's sheer serendipity that I came across this site. Which is heavy on visuals of products and brands and very minimal on words. What you get in descriptions is exactly what the product is about, where to purchase it and how much it costs. Nothing more, nothing less. There's no disputing that at first glance the products and brands suggestions are quirky, abstract, and some classic. But it is a wide range that appeals to all taste levels. Even though most of the products are targeted towards younger men in their 20s, there is something for males of all ages.
A few products caught my eye, as illustrated in the images I lifted off the site, but for every product that appeals to you there will be one that goes totally against your taste levels. This is not a bad thing because I feel that it gives the site the balance that it needs in catering to all taste levels. The products are vast and range from indispensable figurines to luxury sports cars. What cannot be denied is that everything can be considered gift worthy, especially when factoring in income levels.
It's definitely the one place where you will find the latest in gadgets, fashion, technology, and some things lifestyle. Its product reviews of truly unique items makes this site one-of-a-kind. The product suggestions span the gamut of men's lifestyle from culture, entertainment, clothes, lifestyle, automobiles, and style, there's something for every gent no matter their age.
What is really being conveyed by Enterase is the fact that anyone with a challenge when giving gifts can look to it for guidance and inspiration. It doesn't come off as preachy at all, especially in the sense that the books that are recommended are not self-help books. If there's anything I am somewhat averse to at the present moment it's self-help books. So the books that are recommended here are a breath of fresh air.
I wouldn't agree with the site's mission that their target market is the 20 year old. There are products and brands that appeal to all ages and types of gents. As with brands, gents stay with certain brands and styles of clothing because they trust the quality and love the craftsmanship that goes into those products. It's no different with ENTERASE. Moreover, the products you find are guaranteed to be unique, statement pieces.
I wasn't going to enter this competition, even after some prompting, I just didn't feel compelled. But after reading and browsing through the terms, conditions, and glorious prizes, I decided to enter the fray. I had a whole outfit planned which is spring appropriate and I chose Sunday (yesterday) as the day to shoot pictures and enter. Something changed just when we were about to head out church, I asked my wife to take some pictures of me in what I was wearing. On a cold, windy and rainy day I decided to forego the planned outfit and settled on these light grey trousers, brown check jacket, pink semi-spread collar shirt, navy blue tie with butterfly motif, pink paisley pocket square, and burgundy captoe oxfords. When I saw the images I was sold that I had a qualifying combination. And, really, it was not planned nor deliberate.
Csquared, which is a leading formal menswear brand in South Africa is hosting this competition, in association with L'Oreal. It's a brand ambassador search; an gentleman who embodies style, charm, a fashion sense, but mostly swag. In this instance it's not about votes, it's about 'likes', Facebook likes. So, if you like my ensemble then I urge you to go to the Csquared Facebook and like my picture, leave a comment as well. This is also an opportunity to 'see' who the readers and supporters of this blog are. So go on and start liking. Here is the official brief from the sponsors:
Do you think you have #TOPSWAG and what it takes to be the next big thing in Men's Fashion?
- Become CSquared Ambassador & #TOPSWAG Style Icon 2013 - CSquared Designer wardrobe for a year. - VIP Lifestyle for a year - Full access and complimentary travel and treatment to SA's hottest events on the high society social calendar. - A year's worth of cutting-edge grooming products from#LOrealMenX - Photoshoot and feature in SA's TOP Mens Magazine Entries close on 15 October 2013. So get Liking, tagging and sharing Gents to gain more support for your votes and prove how you dominate the style stakes on social media.
ATT: All entrants of #TOPSWAG must be ready, available and willing to travel in order to attend #TOPSWAG fashion voting party on 17 Oct. Entries close 5pm on Tuesday.
Chosen #TOPSWAG OKe's will be Notified via email.
So, with exactly less than 24 hours left, at the eleventh hour, I need all the 'likes' and 'tags' I can get just to crack the top 30. I appreciate your readership and support. I will report on how the contest unfolds as time goes on.
In order to view the gallery of all the stylish gentlemen and to like and comment, click here.
The weather has been largely strange this spring. Last spring was cold, windy and very wet. I'm talking a week long deluge that no one could escape. The kind of rainy weather that would greet you in the mornings and bid you goodnight in the evenings. This kind of weather has been conspicuously absent this spring. I thought I'd even get an opportunity to wear a navy wool coat but the hot weather has pretty much negated all those wishes. The weather conditions this week were very unpredictable, but two particular days were polar opposites. And in terms of dressing this required two totally different outfits, especially in terms of fabrics and textures.
The top image was taken on Tuesday; the temperature was quiet low and there was a chill in the air which required fabrics with a little bit of weight. So I decided to go with with navy blue corduroy trousers, a cotton shirt, a grey sports jacket, and chocolate brown cap toe brogues. Needless to say I was warm throughout the day and even when the temperature started rising the cotton shirt with its light texture and weight had some cooling effect underneath the heavier jacket.
Today was an absolute scorcher, I mean, if it's this hot early in spring what is summer going to be like? From early in the morning, before the sun even came out, the signs were there that it was going to be an unbearably hot day. So, how does one hold it down in the office on a hot day in a stylish way? I opted for light breathable fabrics. The shirt is a very light cotton, the trousers are cotton as well, the jacket is 100% linen which is quite sturdy and doesn't wrinkle easily (I think this has to do with the fact that the jacket is lined), and the shoes are penny loafers with a high vamp. Some people gave me puzzled looks probably because of the jacket but the fact that it's linen makes it very appropriate for hot weather. I can honestly say that not once did I break a sweat. I'm almost ready to pack away the knitwear and heavy sports jacket but the intermittent cold weather keeps pulling me back.
It's going to be interesting when I starting researching tropical wools, and comparing their qualities to linen, and how they measure against each other in the work place.
I've come to the realisation that men's style is very flexible and accommodating. There is really no excuse to be sloppily dressed; not in this day and age. Even the most casual and laid back of dress codes can be presentable and stylish without much effort.
This past weekend I was out of town and stayed in a hotel. During some downtime on Saturday evening, I decided to venture to the restaurant to enquire about their dinner menu. Still dressed in trousers and a long sleeved shirt, untucked, I thought I could get away with wearing flip-flops. When I got to the dining area the mood was relaxed but quiet. And diners were quietly going about their business. There was a sense of decorum and the ambience was off-set by soothing classical music which was heavy on violins. So, in all this, with the cold air-conditioning nipping at my exposed feet, I looked around and felt NAKED. Flip-flops in the reception and dining area of a hotel, how egregious; disrespectful to both myself and my fellow patrons. Being in South Africa , where people aren't style conscious, allows one to get away with many style related faux pas. Therefore, in my flip-flops, no one noticed that I might have been violating a tacit rule of dress code.
My suggestion for footwear suitable for wearing outside of your hotel room, however, within the confines of a hotel, are velvet slippers. Originally worn as house shoes, velvet slippers have, over the years made their way outdoors. My choice is based on the fact that slippers fit perfectly into both casual and formal modes of dress. They can be worn with or without socks, allowing them to be versatile. So within the confines of a hotel velvet slippers are respectful and highly appropriate.
Menswear requires us as gentlemen, to cover up, so your least erogenous zones shouldn't be exposed. The less we see the better.
In a previous post I highlighted how these light grey trousers were sent to the tailor for some work inside the hem because they had, previously, been glued and not stitched. When I got them back I discovered that although the length was fine, the bagginess throughout the leg was visibly extensive and disproportionate to the 16 inch hem. This called for more work which entailed reducing the bagginess and making it a more tailored fit. Below are the results, I am quite happy with, and the overall fit and look.
I modeled the sizing of the leg after the medium grey trousers because they are my best fitting winter trousers. As you can see there is definitely a difference in how they used to fit before and how they fit now. The slight trouser break, the hem, waist, and overall length are all in proportion with the tailored aesthetic.