I recently had the pleasure to go on a quick midweek trip to Botswana and this time I made it my mission to pack appropriately, but most importantly, lightly. I've packed before but not as efficiently, functionally and practically as this. I actually made it a point to go for pieces that would be winter appropriate and interchangeable. I'm extremely apprehensive when it comes to my luggage on planes, therefore, I opt for carry-on luggage because it's safer that way. And now I have definitely found the secret to packing lightly and ensuring that my luggage stays safe.
This is what I packed and I most definitely put a lot of thought into it:
Two grey trousers, light and charcoal
One terracotta corduroy pants
One navy blue blazer
Black cap-toe oxfords
Two shirts, red, and light blue gingham
One light grey V-neck jersey
Three pairs of socks
Fleece pants and black V-neck Jockey sleeping tee
The accessories were as follows:
Two belts, black and tan
Three pocket squares
And one toiletry bag.
If you take away the light grey trousers, the light blue check shirt with a red over-check (not counted in the shirt count), then the size of the load automatically lessens. Everything, pretty much, complemented each other, therefore, I was happy with the outcome and the fact that none of the clothes would go waste. I was definitely going to wear everything. I packed everything in a Cat Apparel duffel bag and I was also able to fit a 17 inch laptop, and there was still space left to fit more things. This is, without a doubt, my go to travel bag.
Exactly 10 minutes after taking the above picture I received a call from the company I was going to do work for and they informed me that I could no longer go on the trip because Botswana doesn't take a temporary passport. So, I packed for nothing but I got something valuable out of the experience. Here's to more trips that I'll be well prepared for.
I am really loving the autumn weather because it doesn't necessitate layering up, however, it allows me to dress in heavier fabrics and rougher textures. It's great knowing that certain articles of clothing are relegated for certain times of the year. Like this dark navy blue double breasted jacket by Pierre Cardin, it could never fly in summer because it's really heavy. I feel the weight on my shoulders and the drape across the chest. So, it's very appropriate for autumn and winter. And being in a coastal city with sub-tropical climate, it makes sense that a jacket will suffice in both form and function as opposed to layering up in a three piece suit or an odd waistcoat. I'm still a sucker for double breasted jackets and I intend, and should get more.
There's just something rewarding about taking care of your clothes. Old clothes that have been well maintained have a beautiful story to tell. I have had these trousers, also in a dark navy blue, with wide rice stripes since 2007/8, I just can't remember clearly, but they have really stood the test of time. They have been through waist, length and hem alterations. They were even glued at the hem after the turn-ups were taken out, and now they have been fully restored. I'm quite fond of and enjoy wearing them. The slight itchiness inside suggests that there could be some polyester but I surmise that they are mostly wool. On cold days they really play the part of being a warm and insulating layer. Many a times I read how some gents try to figure out if there are rules to dress. Yes, there are, however, since men's fashion and menswear have advanced, the rules that once governed the way we dress have somewhat fallen away and style has largely become subjective. Very personal. This brings me to my point about these exact trousers. I suppose I could wear them with a slimmer taper, turn-ups, and a higher hem, however, I'm very comfortable with them this way. They have a full trouser break, a longer hem and a looser fit around the thighs, throughout the leg. I wear most of my winter dress trousers this way, just for an added element of comfort and warmth. So, to other gents out there who are still trying to find their way around a new found sense of style, develop your own way around fit, however, paying attention to the rules is a great place to start.
So, the folks at East Dane, a men's fashion site, reached to me in the hopes to collaborate on a giveaway. I acquiesced to the idea because this is another opportunity to expose the Perfect Gentleman brand, as well as to establish a relationship that will engender more collaborations in the future.
East Dane was launched in 2013 as a brother site to Shopbop.com, East Dane is a thoughtful, straightforward approach to men's fashion. East Dane serves up heritage brands such as Filson and Wolverine 1000 Mile, and new names to men who are more interested in style than trends-who understand that dressing well comes from a combination of confidence and quality construction.
Everything is covered on East Dane from blazers and suits, to accessories such as pocket squares, neckties and scarves. This site really runs the gamut of men's sartorial and some lifestyle needs. Whenever I encounter sites such as East Dane, that have a vast selection of products, I always approach the process of purchasing something with trepidation because there is just too much to choose from. Yes, the product range can run on you. If you're like me, then I suggest you scour the 50% off Men's section as your starting point. Sometimes, really, less is more!
East Dane, therefore, is giving away four single $50 vouchers to four lucky readers. What, I hope, will appeal to you is that the giveaway is open to readers all over the world. Enter and if you're one of the lucky winners then whatever you use your voucher to purchase will be shipped to you. East Dane offers free shipping worldwide in 3 days and free returns, and offers Amazon Prime members free 2 day shipping.
All you have to do to win one of these vouchers is to drop a comment stating what you would use your voucher to purchase and also please state from where you're commenting from. That's all you have to do in order to be one of the four lucky winners. The contest closes in 7 days, 31 May 2014 at 12:00 midday South African time.
Disclaimer: Please note that I have also been offered a $200 voucher. *Update*
The most appealing thing about menswear and style is the change in seasons and how a gentleman's is supposed to adapt with the seasonal changes. Even in a sub-tropical climate such as Durban this autumn has been a little colder and that necessitates the need for the correct footwear. What I like is the fact that it's been rainy as well which means that leather soles on your shoes are going to cause you to slip and fall. So, this brings us to the Vince Camuto Autumn/ Winter 2014 shoe range. And they all look like they're built for the colder months. At first glance their texture looks rough, rugged and raw, something that'll complement the coarser, heavier and patterned fabrics of autumn and winter. With the above nine pairs you pretty have your whole cold weather footwear wardrobe covered.
Let's take a quick glance at this range. Well, for starters this it looks like rougher, harder leather, and this makes them ideal for cold weather. The thickness of the leather also makes them quite accommodative of thick wool socks especially the marled version. The heavy broguing is indicative of how these shoes would complement a tweed or flannel suit, jeans or trousers made of moleskin, corduroy or wool. I'm really of the opinion that the cold weather shoe wardrobe is covered in all aspects in this range. The number one important aspect of these shoes is the rubber sole. They look like they are ready to withstand any kind of rainy weather as well because the sole is thick, has better grip to prevent slipping and falling, and the slightly curved toe can prevent damage to the front of the shoe and penetration by water.
As for me, my favourites are the Gabriel black, Sergio tan, and Dario black.
It follows that in the quest to achieve full and proportional coherence in your outfit every aspect has to be considered. It goes without saying then that your jacket sleeve is one such aspect. Just as a shirt can be altered and made slimmer, a jacket should enjoy this benefit as well. Jacket sleeves cannot only be lengthened or shortened, they can also be tapered. The above two images clearly evince this. The light grey jacket, at top, has undergone so many changes that the sleeve has been left hanging with a very loose fit. There has to be a consistency in the whole sleeve therefore, from the sleevehead to the opening. The tapered or not tapered sleeve can also look two ways to a viewer. The loose, baggy sleeve can give the effect of two different garments at the wrist, especially when the shirt is slim and the jacket is baggy. It's even worse when both the shirt and jacket sleeve are baggy. The top image illustrates the difference between a slim shirt and loose jacket sleeve.
A tapered sleeve therefore shows consistency, tidiness and is pleasurable to one's eyes. When one is standing with their arms at the sides there is no looseness that gives the illusion of the shirt being lost in the jacket sleeve. The rule of showing showing shirt cuff becomes very applicable because proportion then becomes very amplified.
There is a lot of truth in the statement that if you learn the basics of style, menswear and dressing presentably, and after unrelenting practice, everything will come easy and effortlessly to you thereafter. Pattern mixing is one such area that I have come to manifest without any challenges. I almost completely forgot about this jacket. It is a navy, frame stripe, wool/poly mix, which somehow slipped my mind. I was just about reaching for my navy double breasted jacket when my eye caught it. From there it was a wrap. I combined the jacket with a 100% silk large stripe tie and a hairline stripe shirt. It is pattern mixing coherence at its best because all three patterns differ in size. From a distance the shirt looks solid but upon closer inspection it is a very fine hairline stripe.
On the lower extremities I went with these sapphire blue trousers which are part of a suit (I have posted about before), I hope to be posting about how I have remixed this very suit in the near future. These trousers are at their most comfortable right now. I had them altered at the waist, as alluded in the previous post, and the seat was too tight. Whenever I would walk there would be intense pulling in the crotch and between the thighs. However, this time around, they felt very comfortable, with no pulling in the crotch or wedging up the thighs. The length is perfect because they rest on the shoe, there is no ankle showing even when walking; it is colder after all. Even the tapering of the hem is to my satisfaction.
Just a few points of interest about the jacket: I bought it off the rack and I am quite impressed with its construction. It is a two button, and the first thing you notice is how deep the V is. For an off the rack that is rare. It features a single vent and...high arm holes. I am very impressed. It is a size 40R and that means it fits well on the shoulders and drapes comfortably across the chest. I'm not too picky about the fabric; it's serviceable for a not so cold autumn.
The Perfect Gentleman blog is incomplete without a post about NBA fashion. At heart I'm a baller, so it's just a natural progression to, every now and then, show the game of basketball a little love. I think I missed the memo regarding the relaxing of the dress code in the NBA. For many years a suit and tie was mandatory, when the change occurred is what I am trying to determine. A suit is scarce, instead, players have opted for smart casual ensembles which are both presentable and also very trendy and fashion forward. So, courtesy of Sports Illustrated, this is a look at some of the style players are exhibiting in the playoffs. And, just for the record, I' riding with the San Antonio Spurs all the way to the championship.
I've been thinking about a corduroy suit for quite some time and I think this might be the time you consider it too. It's quite versatile. So, I put together this layout with a tan corduroy suit as the foundation piece. This is just a microcosm of the potential reach a corduroy suit has both as one piece or when it is broken up and worn as separate pieces. Even though it can be dressed up, it is better suited for weekend wear because of the casual character it exudes. I have a tan linen suit I am rearing to wear come summer but in winter a tan corduroy suit is a stylish way of standing out. I am a little sceptical of leather shoes and whether they are well suited for a corduroy suit, however, I included those rubber soled high boat shoes as a leather just to continue the casual vibe. It goes without saying therefore that the brown suede monkstraps are befitting especially when considering the textures involved. Even though it's warm enough as a stand alone piece without any outerwear, I added the navy quilted jacket because it's versatile on its own and that it supplant the jacket.
I really can't say I've seen anyone wearing it in Durban, however, this is a great opportunity to start searching for one.
It is a glorious day today, indicative of what autumn in Durban entails. Sunny and warm with a light breeze, great day for family. I decided on a casual but presentable look while heading to the polling station. It's also comfortable for relaxing at home the whole day. It was also an opportunity for me to tap into autumn's colour palette by wearing this button down salmon shirt from Woolworths and the almond brogues by Bishop. If I'd worn a navy blazer I'd be treading on business casual territory, however, this slim, light, navy blue shawl collar cardigan is the difference maker. It's warm outside but the breeze has a slight chill, so the cardigan is a practical insulating layer. Navy blue can get quite familiar and mundane. It would appear that going for it evokes a sense of lack of imagination sometimes. That's why I need to get myself a cream white shawl collar cardigan. Now that would be imaginative and adventurous.