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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10 Steps to a Perfectly Organised Wardobe

Came across this article yesterday and thought it would help quite a few of my readers. Though it is targeted toward men, it can certainly be adapted and made to work for ladies as well. If you like the gist of it, feel free to finish it up by clicking the link at the end. (By the way, I love reading the idiosyncrasies that come with British English, when compared to American English. Makes me wonder how we mis-learned so many apparently correct ways of spelling words.)

Words by Mr Dan Rookwood, US Editor, MR PORTER

Minimalism might be the smug Instagram ideal, but the reality for most people – those of us who like buying clothes anyway – is a wardrobe and cupboards that are over-stuffed at best and a precariously balanced landslide-in-waiting at worst.

If it’s a struggle to prise a hanger from the rail or a sweater from the shelf and doing so brings with it the garments either side, then you’re suffering from stuffocation and everything will end up looking creased. And all those items hidden away in the dark recesses? You never wear them. You’ve probably forgotten you even own them.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Clear away the clutter and you’ll be able to access all areas. Not only will that remove some low-level stress from your life, but you will open up exponentially more outfit possibilities, rediscover some old favourites and breathe new life into your everyday look.

And yes, OK, we will admit to having an ulterior motive. Because oh look, you can suddenly fit in more clothes. Turns out we can help with that, too.

 

Make remaining organized a priority.

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.

Neck n’ Neck Vintage Co.

A man’s wardrobe choices can make or break his entire career. But, what many don’t realize is, a man’s choice in accessories can make or break his entire wardrobe. Now, often, the most prominent accessory a man in business professional/formal attire is his tie. That being said, where do you think you ought to build your wardrobe’s versatility? If you guessed “From my tie rack,” you’re today’s winner.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetYou’ve likely heard of my go-to groomer Vince Jamael, of Adrian Fanus Grooming, Inc. (and if you haven’t, just click this whole sentence and you’ll get taken to a handful of posts on this site dealing with his greatness). One thing you may not know about Vince is that he’s not only a well-groomed groomer, but he’s also something like a style icon in his own circle. Always well-dressed for any occasion, Vince is constantly asked where he gets his threads. And, more often than you’d believe, his answer is “From XYZ Vintage Clothing Shop.” Much of his style is vintage with an intentional new school flare. Head to toe, the brother is sharp and I don’t say that about everyone.

I can recall the year after I graduated from undergrad and was sleeping on Vince’s living room couch (times were tough but look what God has done five years later), and I saw that he had this dope tie. Now, I didn’t have any skinny ties in my wardrobe at the time and, not only was this one skinny but it was a vibrant shade of red and made of cotton. Far outside my realm of comfort but it had my attention. Vince caught me checking it out and said I could have it if I wanted it. That was my first step to exploring more nontraditional styles of neckwear.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetFast forward to present day and Vince has started his own neckwear company, Neck n’ Neck Vintage Co., based out of Brooklyn. His business model is a unique one, in which he carefully curates only the most exclusive neckties from vintage shops, both across the United States and in his international travels. His goal is to provide his clientele with the caliber of tie that their grandfather would look for at a reasonable price. The curation, purchase, and restoration of these timeless pieces are responsibilities that fall squarely on Vince’s shoulders alone, but ones that he accepts.

“My passion for helping young men and women feel their best when they put on a necktie is helping to make this dream a reality,” Vince said when asked why he’s investing so much into this vision. “I recall looking at classic photos of gentlemen from older days and thinking ‘What if we combined their knowledge of proper dress with this generation’s fashion sense? We’d be unstoppable.’ So here I am, trying to create a brand that is truly timeless.”

Initially doing private consultations to present clients with his neckwear, Vince is now able to be contacted on Instagram at @vtg_ties. As the brand grows, he will develop more avenues through which his pieces can be purchased but right now, he prefers “personal style consultations to cold cash-based sales.”

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You can’t put a tie on without a shirt without looking like a Chippendale, so get the shirt and trousers together but, when you’ve got those two checked off, make sure your neck speaks to a level of distinction without breaking the bank. The best way to do that? Grab a distinguishing necktie from Neck n’ Neck Vintage Co. and let it tell a story without you having to say a word.

Make quality neckwear 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.

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.