Monday, March 9, 2015

Style: Pastel Summer

There is absolutely no stopping the heat and while some locations are slowly transitioning to spring, I haven't seen advertising alluding to or indicating the imminent arrival of autumn. So, with the sun continuing it's lean, I decided to add a smidgen of colour to this light, breathable navy suit via a turquoise cotton gingham shirt. And the first compliment came from my wife; I surmise that light pastel colours complement my skin tone and this should lead to more experimentation with pastels. Thinking about it, it makes sense then that dark colours will clash with dark skin tones because they will appear monotonous and lifeless. I've alluded to this before in the early days of this blog that my skin tone is referred to as winter; which means the winter is cool and clear with stark, dramatic skin. Africans, Asians, and Caucasians with very pale skin and dark hair fall into this category.

Some of my research indicates that a winter skin tone works with true white, true black, cool grays, navy blue, deep reds, bright pinks, jewel tones (emerald, royal blue, royal purple), and icy pastels.  Conversely, beige, orange, gold, brown and other washed out shades don't work so well with the winter skin tone and should be avoided.

                                                 PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Brands: Combatant Gentlemen Maroon V-Neck Cotton-Cashmere Sweater

The last few months have been incredibly hot and that precluded me from trying out this V-neck sweater from Combatant Gentlemen, yesterday I finally got an opportunity to wear it and I was quite impressed with the first test. We should be thinking about autumn now anyway, so I don't think the maroon colour is not in accordance with the impending season. What is most striking about this garment from the get-go is how light it is. It is super light. If a boxer were to go for a weigh-in with this sweater draped on his shoulders it wouldn't add any extra weight. That's how confident I am of it. I think it's also appropriate for sub-tropical weather like ours.

                                               Maroon V-Neck Cotton-Cashmere Sweater $45

It is made of a cotton-cashmere blend and this is evinced in how smooth and supple it is. In fact it is 85% Indian cashmere and 15% Indian cotton. I think it's a marvelous blend of natural fibres which puts the sweater's quality quite high. I've had it for more than six months and during this time it was folded in my wardrobe and after retrieving it, it required brief steaming in the shower to get rid of wrinkles and then it was time to rock and roll. One thing I agree with when it comes to knit wear is don't hang it because the hangers will affect the shape and structure of the shoulders and the drape across and along the body. I can also attest to the slim cut through the waist which gives it a great fit throughout the torso.

I don't think it can stand rough handling because even the stitching is quite delicate. I noticed that the label at the back of the neck was loose on one side which means that the stitching is not good. Perhaps this is a one time issue which needs to be interrogated at the quality control stage. Overall though, I think it's a solid garment and as ambitious as Combatant Gentlemen is, I know it will only get better with time.

                                             PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

    Wednesday, March 4, 2015

    Style: No Tie Bar Required

    This is something we all perpetrate at some point and it is in such instances that we learn lessons regarding style and execution. Today's topic is very short but important; should you wear a tie bar with a waistcoat. And the answer is a resounding no! There's absolutely no need. The waistcoat is already fulfilling the function of a tie bar by holding the necktie in place. I wear all my waistcoats with a deep V. I actually have a navy blue waistcoat altered by lowering the button stance because it was too high. I like to show off some of the necktie, shirt, and the relationship between the waistcoat and jacket. If you're stuck with a necktie that moves around while wearing a waistcoat then it means the fit of the waistcoat is incorrect. This can be corrected by using the adjuster belts at the back of the waistcoat to tighten it. This works almost all the time unless the waistcoat needs further altering. For waistcoats that don't have back adjusters, like the one I'm wearing here, you can have it taken in at the sides and the back until you get the perfect fit.

    Whatever you do though, don't wear a tie bar with a waistcoat.

    PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

    Monday, March 2, 2015

    Style: High, Medium, and Low Vamp Tassel Loafers

                                                             High vamp - Fratelli Rossetti

    I've been thinking about aesthetics and how certain things appear to the third person. You know, sometimes, you always ask the opinion of another person just to ensure that you look presentable and acceptable. I've been asking myself this very same questions regarding tassel loafers and, where and how they measure up in terms of dress code and formality. I find that what may work with a business suit won't necessarily work with a casual ensemble.

    First let's define the vamp: it forms part of the upper of the shoe, anywhere from the toes to the part where the toes and the leg connect. In other words, the top part of the foot is where you'll find the vamp. The high vamp tassel loafer such as the one pictured above is most suitable for business dress code. It'll work well with business dress comprising a business suit made of wool or wool blend and lightweight socks. They can also work with a casual suit such as cotton or linen. What gives the shoe its business tone is the high vamp. This shoe covers almost the whole foot and that's why it's suitable for business dress. They are not suitable, however, with any ensemble comprising shorts. The issue goes back to the vamp once again and just how inappropriate they would be with shorts. Some gents might try a high vamp loafer with shorts and it'll work for them, I am not an advocate of the style.

                                                             Medium vamp - Allen Edmonds

    The medium vamp tassel loafer is where things can go either way and it gives the gent a lot more leeway in terms of styling. This one by Allen Edmonds, clearly demonstrates the middle ground in terms of the vamp and it is suitability for both a suit and shorts. Gentlemen will agree with me that there is enough proof on the internet evincing just how compatible the medium vamp tassel loafer is. A business suit would be perfect with this kind of shoe and it can also be worn with shorts because it's not as serious as the high vamp loafer. It's clean smooth lines are a further indication that they are suitable for business, however, it's design also allows it some casual flair.

                                                                  Low vamp - Cole Haan

    The low vamp tassel loafer illustrates its casual vibe and how inappropriate it is with a business suit. You can never look right pairing the two together. A casual suit, shorts suit, and shorts will work tastefully well with these loafers. The embellishments such as the extra stitching and 'complicated' vamp are a clear sign that they're inappropriate for business. A cotton suit with no tie would also complement the shoe well. Tassel loafers with a low vamp can also work well with jeans, something the high vamp one's can't execute quite well.

    There is one caveat to be considered with all these shoes however, their relationship in terms of the trouser opening in proportion with the shoe. The high vamp works well with a narrow hem, so that it doesn't engulf the whole shoe. The medium vamp will work with a narrow and slightly wider hem because it will touch just at the start of the top of the vamp. The low vamp will work with a  narrow hem because a wide hem will lead to a baggy opening. In all this however, personal style and preference must consider the overall aesthetic.

                                                       PG: Man to man, generation to generation.