Looking the Part

How do you prepare for big days?

I remember, as a boy, my dad taught me to take special care of my shoes. As a young man in the professional world, when I wore shoes to work every day, I polished them at least once a week. Now that I am able to wear sneakers and loafers on some days, I polish my hard bottoms less frequently but I still pay attention to their shine.

This post isn’t about shoes. It’s about being intentional in every aspect of your presentation. Press your shirts and trousers. Be able to select the appropriate socks. Have pen and paper that say, “I believe that what I am writing ought to be written with class.” Go into a meeting knowing you can not only meet with kings but also connect with them.

Life is too short not to be able to present yourself in a manner that commands respect. I’m not saying you always have to be in a full suit and tie but at least know how to do it and look comfortable and confident when you do.

 

Make looking the part a priority.

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New Tie Alert! 👔

A few weeks ago, I posted about Neck ‘n Neck Vintage Co., a startup out of Brooklyn, New York. Yesterday, I received my first necktie from Neck ‘n Neck and I am impressed. While neckwear curator Vince Jamael specializes in providing customers with quality vintage ties from notable brands, I purchased mine after letting him know some of the styles I was interested in and then he provided me with samples that ranged in style but met my criteria. I finally settled on the Bert Pulitzer paisley that is pictured above. Having sold menswear for years with Nordstrom, Inc., I can recognize quality neckwear pieces when I see and/or touch them and this one passed the test. An impeccable silk tie with a vintage look and a width that, though may not always be on the cutting edge of fashion, will never go out of style.

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While a quality new suit will cost you hundreds of dollars and a well-made shirt is even going to be around $50 (closer to the $30 range if you know where and when to shop), a few ties from Neck ‘n Neck Vintage Co. can add some versatility to your wardrobe in no time for little cost. The more I mature, the more my tastes in whiskey and neckwear align. At this point in my life, I like my ties like I like my whiskey: classic and neat.

So, go ahead, follow @vtg_ties on Instagram, and let them know which pieces you’re interested in. You can thank me later.

 

Make being well-dressed a priority.

Autumn is Here…

… But give fall fashion some time.

I know, I know. Boots have been sitting in closets. Sweaters are ready to be worn. And those cool jackets? They will have their time to shine. But be cognizant of the fact that it’s still warm, at least for those of us in the Eastern United States. There’s no need to look super eager. So, for now, keep dressing for the summer months. You don’t want to be the one in the office appearing to be crazy because your outfit is 34 days ahead of the temperature.

Make dressing with some sense a priority.

#TrendingThursday 2.0 – Num. 10

Simple Wardrobe Alterations Every Man Should Make by Grant Tillery
I’m all about getting clothes that compliment your body. This article focuses on how men can do that effectively without breaking the bank.

10 Tricks To Appear Smart In Meetings by Sarah Cooper
Even when I’m not the smartest person in the room, I want to seem intelligent. Even if I don’t feel it at that moment, the appearance that I am is important to me. This short piece is right on time, as I’m often in the room with doctors, professors, and lawyers these days.

Make professional development a priority.

Once In a Lifetime OPERAtunity

There are plenty of people I know who have not attended an opera. Even more have not been to New York Fashion Week (NYFW). On Saturday, September 9, I had the opportunity to see both at the same time. Opera Carolina, founded in 1948 by the Charlotte Music Club, is known across the nation and does a phenomenal job of maintaining the integrity of the art form.

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Opera Carolina’s presentation of “Opera Recycles” at the Crowne Plaza Time Square Manhattan hotel was not only artistic in nature, but designers Kristen Alyce, Emily Kramer, Sarah Danee McGee, Malou Cordery, Venie Tadeo, Lyndsee Hairston and Rocio Llusca brought a level of environmental awareness to the runway by creating couture fashion using its recycled printed materials. The fashion was not the only innovative component of this one-of-a-kind performance; Producer Jerome Jewetto created the runway music for Opera Recycles’ fashion show that incorporated hip hop and opera, including songs from “O Fortuna”, “Carmen”, and “The Marriage of Figaro.” Such fusion of opera, hip-hop, fashion, and recycled playbills embraces a cultural integration that, in recent history, would have been frowned upon by opera and fashion purists alike, but is now thought-provoking and impactful.

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The ability of trained opera singers to not only sing but to properly represent the artistic views of the designers was awe-inspiring. As one who has been intrigued by fashion since my early days of undergraduate studies, but who also is constantly gaining an understanding of the need for sustainability, this performance illuminated both the right and left sides of my brain. I was able to appreciate the beauty in the designs as well as the musical selections while realizing the need for more sustainable sources of fashion. Will I be wearing all of my used bill envelopes to work tomorrow morning? Probably not. But why not, going forward, start patching up a hole in a pair of pants as opposed to going out to buy a whole new pair? I already thrift but could I do it more? Certainly. Sustainability in fashion set to a soundtrack of classic melodies and unconventional rhythms made an indelible impact on me.

When fashion, sustainability, and music intersect, they etch a memory into one’s mind and that memory creates dreams of what is possible if we think outside the box. It is not every day that you hear something that changes the world but, on September 9, 2017, I did. Opera Carolina’s “Opera Recycles” presentation was not only one of artistic excellence; it was a call to environmental action. That is certainly a melody that I will dance to.

 

Make having experiences and sustainability priorities.

Breaking Monotony

Everyone has a style. I encourage and respect that (even if I don’t always like certain people’s). Do what works for you.

But, sometimes, you have to try something new. We’re not Amish (unless you are, in which case I’m assuming someone printed this post for you). Therefore, you have wardrobe options. If you’re always bright and colorful, try some earthy fall colors in the coming months. If you’re constantly wearing black, go buy a crimson tie or canary skirt to add a bit of flare to your wardrobe. You never know how a different look will make you feel until you try it.

And that doesn’t just go for color schemes but grooming as well. For months at a time, I’ll let my hair and beard grow. Then one day I’ll get bored, cut both off, and start fresh. The beautiful thing (right now) is that it’ll all grow back. Or, ladies, if you’re thinking about trying a different hairdo, look at some folks who have a similar head shape, bone structure, and complexion and, if you like the way they wear their hair, go for it. The worst that can happen is you hate it and, in 3 months, you’ll be able to move back toward what you had before.

While we’re talking about switching up styles, know that different outfits serve different purposes. It is a must that I tailor some of my clothes because of the caliber of event they’re regularly worn to. Others can be worn right off the rack. And the accessories change with events too. If I’m shooting for a night on the town, I may don a suit and v-neck with loafers and earrings if I want to sauce it up. But, when I feel like looking smart but stylish for a meeting with a client, I’m throwing on cosmetic frames with a suit and well-polished hard bottoms (Note to myself and you: Polish shoes tonight). Either way, it’s about looking confident and comfortable in whatever you wear. And you don’t have to step out of your comfort zone daily but you should do it frequently enough to shake things up.

You never know what you’ll need to look like in your next work environment, so developing versatility and comfort now should be the game plan. Whether your employer, your significant other, or that barista at Starbucks that has been giving you the eye for the past few months, it’s nice to see that you can try something new and still look (and perform) like a winner.

All in all, no matter how old you are, you’re too young not to have fun and enjoy life.

Make being well-dressed and well-groomed priorities.

Oh, by the way, I’ve got a crazy post coming for next week’s fashion post. Make sure you’re subscribed to the blog so you don’t miss out on #TailoredAndTaperedTuesdays.

Caught Off Guard

Today, I got caught off guard. I wasn’t dressed my best and ran into a potential future coworker.

The field I’m in is small. In the real world, there are said to be six degrees of separation. In development, there are two. And, today, I unexpectedly met a colleague from a different institution. Though I was far from bummy, I wasn’t my most polished self. And it was a reminder to me that, even on days I don’t feel the need to dress my best, I still must. You never know when that offer that may change your life will present itself.

Now, the gentleman was still impressed by my knowledge and, as I said, I was decently dressed but not as well as I could’ve been. Not as well as I had been yesterday. And certainly not as well as I will be tomorrow.

Make the first impression a priority.