Monday, May 25, 2015

Pick Of The Week: Guess Choc Brown Dawson Cardigan

Pick of the week time again and as always courtesy of Runway Sale. This time it's an absolute autumn/ winter wardrobe staple, a shawl collar cardigan. This one by the Guess brand has some edgy features like the off-centre button placket and antique brass buttons. All the other features are common, like two front pockets and that it's ribbed. What's not to love about it. It has the requisite heavy texture even though it's 100% cotton. 

Even though the most versatile of shawl collar cardigans is one in a neutral tone, this chocolate brown one is just as versatile because it will complement both casual and business casual outfits. When determining the correct fit ensure that the cardigan can be worn with only a shirt despite its chunky texture and feel. When considering a snug/ fitted fit the cardigan should be versatile enough to use as an outer piece or layering piece. That's versatility. 

Some of my favourite looks for a shawl collar cardigan include wearing it as an outer piece over a trouser and waistcoat combination, as a layering piece under a casual mid-thigh length coat and, with jeans and a henley. There are many other combinations to consider, you just have to think creatively. Since this is a sale, it has been marked down from R1420 to R749. 

p.s. I will be taking a break from the blog for a little while. I hope to return by mid-June. I have to focus on my exams and also prepare for another basketball season. I do have a whole lot more content coming up. Thank you for reading.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Style: Spring/ Summer Suit In Autumn

One of the advantages of living in a region with sub-tropical climate is that you can pretty much wear the same fabrics throughout the year. I've said it before that Durban rarely gets cold, and when it does, a simple and warm layer on top does the trick. Yesterday was just one of those days; clear sky, sunny, warm with a light breeze. Perfect weather for a light-weight suit.

This is a light grey 100% wool (Super 130s) suit. The difference with other wool suits I have is that this one is extremely light and very breathable (hm...this reminds me of a time I said that polyester is breathable). I could literally feel the breeze blow right through the suit; it is so light I'm willing to concede that it is more casual than formal. So, in summer I will probably wear it with just a shirt, golfer/ polo, or a henley or T-shirt. It's a lot more fitted and slim throughout the body and the trousers throughout the leg as well.

I don't know if this surprises anyone else but, I am always incredulous at the quality of certain fabrics. How a fabric will appear solid from afar but then up close it is patterned; that always gets me, every time. This suit might appear solid grey but up close it is a micro houndstooth. The above picture doesn't do it justice. But it's just one of its features that I really like. The brown buttons and the deep V on the button stance is what makes it so appropriate for the warmer months. I like a deep V because it allows the necktie to be shown off and that also compliments one's waistline as well.

I never used to like flat front trousers however I've grown to appreciate them and how they form a clean line from the waist down. These trousers might seem high waisted but they're not. I just seem to have found a comfortable way of wearing them and that included adding this brown woven belt to keep them at the waist.

It's an off-the-rack suit and I can't wait until spring/ summer when I can really give it a run. It's not serious at all therefore it's going to require a lot of creative thinking in order to extract maximum wearability. I'm impressed though because I'm sure it'll appeal to a lot of gents who are into slim fitting suits.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Pick Of The Week: Movado

                                                     Men's Brown Leather Circa Watch

There was a time when every Movado print ad featured Wynton Marsalis, his ever present trumpet and how their timepieces harkened back to a time when men's style was about quality and classic timelessness. These are the qualities that are espoused by Movado and it was no surprise that they'd have Marsalis as their brand ambassador. Marsalis is a firm believer in dressing presentably, especially for people in the arts, and his partnership with Movado was a futher extension of this belief and his personality.

This week's pick of the week comes courtesy of this luxury brand and I have to say I'm quite impressed with Runway Sale for partnering with such a brand in order to offer their timepieces for just a fraction above half price.

First up, atop, is a favourite of mine. I love wristwatches with leather straps. There's something about genuine leather wrapped around your wrist, its obvious and  lasting quality. It features a dark brown leather strap, the case is polished stainless steel, the dial markers are rose gold with Arabic numerals and indices, and there is a date calendar display. It's pretty much standard as an everyday watch and it would work in a business and casual environment. It's not exactly affordable for the budget conscious gent, however, at R6 799 down from R12 950, I'd say it's a steal considering the brand and its inherent quality.

I like the versatility of this chrono watch as well. It's a lot more bolder and bright, and it would work for casual environments where a suit is not mandatory but a jacket is; it gives me summer wedding, race course or garden party vibes. Another aspect of its versatility is that its two tone; which makes it compatible with gold or silver accented accessories. You're not restricted with a watch of this kind.

Its features will also appeal to any wristwatch enthusiast. It has a round black dial with gold tone hands and stick hour markers, a fixed gold-tone bezel, minute markers around the outer rim, and a date display appears at the 4 o'clock position. The dot marker at the twelve o'clock hour, unbeknownst to me, is a signature feature of Movado watches. For a watch of this design, functionality and beauty you should expect to pay R18 500, however since it's on sale it's been slashed to half price at R9 299. Not cheap but it will definitely have admirers and takers.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Style: 40 Suits & 40 Ways To Wear Them

I don't buy nor read GQ magazine anymore. I do read the South African publication, but the US version just doesn't do it for me. It's hard to decipher just what GQ is peddling and most of the style and menswear articles are overshadowed and eclipsed by sex-training-sports-technology-cooking-comedy-hormones-raging-macho-man type articles, and this has taken the interest out of reading it. Ask any classic menswear aficionado and they'll tell you how they harken back to the days when this magazine was a menswear staple and a must read for any style conscious gent.

That aside, while browsing through I came across this rather incredibly innovative and practical gif-like video showcasing the versatility of a suit. There's very little difference between a suit jacket and a blazer and this video illustrates that point quite vividly; It's in how the rest of your suit is dressed up, down or borken up into separates that rules can be broken, lanes straddled and lines blurred. What stands out for me is how the looks go from work to play so easily. Dressing down a suit is a 'science' on its own and in some instances it requires more than just removing your tie and unbuttoning your shirt collar. Two things I took from this presentation: Buy a suit that offers you the option to wear it as separates and, when buying a suit try to envision how you can maximise its use.

                                           PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Pick of the Week: The Little America x Herschel Supply Co.

Regular readers of this blog will know that I have written a lot about how I used to be a hip-hop head and how the culture influenced me. I’m not a head anymore but some things have continued to follow me even though they aren’t much of an influence. I really thought that my backpacker days were over until I laid my eyes on this gem on the EastDane website last year. It’s been in storage all along because I just couldn’t find a way to use it as yet but when I was preparing for BNL 2015, I knew I had found the perfect opportunity to use it.

During the Four Nations tournament, that was held in March, I broke it out and I was pleasantly surprised by this product. The backpack is by a company called Herschel and from what I’ve seen elsewhere on the internet, Herschel is a quality driven company that makes innovative and functional luggage. I was very impressed with the other products I saw on EastDane and their website. I’ve had backpacks before but nothing quite like this one.

I finally decided on purchasing because I couldn't make up my mind as to what to buy with the voucher I had received from EastDane, however, I was sold on this backpack when I observed its colours. Its kaleidoscope really drew me and I actually pictured myself wearing it. Some people would be averse to a backpack with light colours because it'll probably dirty and soil easily, however, I've taken a cautious approach and will not be careless in the way that I handle it. One thing about its design is that it was built for comfort. The exterior might be tough but once you sling it over your shoulder, you can feel just how comfortable and soft it is on the body. The shoulder straps are fully padded but they are light and they do not add any heft to the it.

This is what I mean by comfort. At the back of the bag there is some padding with a mesh design that adds to its unique aesthetic; the comfort levels on the shoulder blades and lower back are great. It appears that the Herschel company had ergonomics in mind when this backpack was desgined. 

It also features a drawstring top as a closure. I will admit however, that it isnt a spacious bag, which is why I only used it for notebooks, school books and stationery. It also has two small inside pockets on both sides for things such as writing instruments.

Signature coated poly fabric

The strap closures have a metal pin clip and magnetic snap buttons and this ust adds a touch of uniqueness to a great product. I admire how this backpack really stands out with its many design and signature features as well as nuances that are particular to the Herschel company.

There are two big compartments on the inside which are fully lined with fleece. It feels smooth to the touch and very lush. And it is big enough to fit a 15 inch laptop. It's not an everyday bag for me but it supplants my briefcase as part of my carry-on luggage whenever I go on my basketball assignments. I'm not going back to my hip-hop backpacker days but I'm sure you'll agree this is a stylish way to keep moving forward.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Brands: Bloggers Connect for Durban

The Tuesday following the Passover I received an invitation to attend a breakfast meeting at the Durban Country Club hosted by eThekwini Municipality's Communication's Unit. I haven't been to a blogger's event in a quite a while and this time around I saw a number of new faces who come from all sectors of the blogging milieu. I always attend events like this with an open mind because it's always an opportunity to learn something new. The municipality was launching this initiative as an intervention of social media bloggers to market, educate and inform the public about various campaigns. The municipality's objective is to partner with bloggers to promote eThekwini as a place to live, work, study, visit and do business.

Bloggers are key to this message because the city plans to build a location brand through coherent communication to put the city ahead of its competitors in this fiercely contested territory. The partnership is also an endeavour to make more information known to residents. With authenticity and pride bloggers have the tacit task of attracting investment and tourists.

There was also a discussion around bloggers using their platforms to develop Durban as a brand. This would need the city to meet bloggers halfway because in order to prosper, the city has to harness social media and  use the power of blogging to develop the city.

Two important things I learned about how bloggers should engage certain entities, especially those wanting exposure on your blog are: a press release is not ideal because it doesn't come across as authentic and it sounds as a sales pitch. Rather give the blogger an experience and then they can write about it, that way the piece comes across objectively with a personal touch. The other was: what's in it for us? The relationship has to be balanced and beneficial to all involved. That way the city is represented and portrayed in a positive light and bloggers are given an incentive and are motivated to tell the city's story.

There will be more events of this kind so that all the right bloggers are invited and their knowledge and expertise are engaged and utilised.

Durban has a story to tell and it isn't what you've witnessed in the news lately.

                                               PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Style: This Autumn Consider The Trouser Waistcoat Combo

Even though the days have become a little cooler and the nights are slightly chilly it doesn't mean that you should get the heavy artillery out just yet. I got a 'shock' last week when, one morning, I saw people in warm outerwear, boots and scarves. I saw one gent wearing a navy blue velvet jacket and I thought it's way too early to be wearing thick, heavy and warm fabrics. What I would like gents to consider as an early autumn combination is the matching trouser and waistcoat. Usually the go to garment for cool weather and dropping temperatures is something with long sleeves, maybe a sweater, jacket or cardigan, however, I would like to suggest that a waistcoat, especially as part of a suit, can be equally effective both stylistically and functionally. There's really no need for a sweater, jacket or cardigan.

Even though this combination is slightly less formal it is still office and business appropriate, and it's immensely aesthetically pleasing than a simple shirt and tie. A matching trouser and waistcoat is also better looking than a matching trouser and sweater. The latter can be quite bland, lacking in creativity and, unsophisticated. It also doesn't look like it's incomplete, whereas a trouser, sweater and tie combination seems like it's missing another garment.

It has taken me a long time to warm up to a waistcoat with lapels. I'm inclined to think that the layering can be quite bulky when a jacket is added. A starting point, however, is definitely a waistcoat with lapels because it exudes a dressier look and it imitates a jacket in some ways. Because it's not exactly cold out, a fabric I  suggest is a 100% pure wool which is breathable. As it gets colder you can then opt for worsted wools, flannel and corduroy.

For now, try this combination, it's fail proof.

                                            PG: Man to man, generation to generation.