If you have read my blog’s description, you must’ve noticed the emphasis I place on image. Despite everything we hear about shallow and superficial people who only take into account looks and appearance, or the old saying “don’t jugde a book by its cover”, the cold hard truth is that we all make judgments based on appearances. Don’t get this the wrong way but simply put, first impressions are crucial: we all know the true “value” of a person lies inside and consists of character, feelings and emotions, but on your everyday life this is the second step when you meet someone. Before talking and getting to know more about a person, your very first impression is sensorial: your brain absorbs and processes all the information projected by that person’s image, unconsciously constructing your perception of it. That judgement is what will primarily draw you to or away from that person.
Your image plays a most important role in how you are perceived and interpreted in the society you live in. The signs your body sends out for other people to read (based on posture and body language) can make or break other people’s impression of you, no matter what you are wearing. Even if you are the best dressed man in the world, if your posture isn’t according, your overall image will be but a fraction of its full potential.
Photos from “Le chaines musculaires et articulaires” by Godelieve Denys-Struyf.
Due to the importance of this subject I found it necessary to have someone who knows best teach us more about it. As such, I asked Caroline Prufer, a physioterapist specialized in Labor Health and postural re-education to colaborate with me in periodical posts regarding Body and Image. Due to the vast nature of the topic we will focus on posture and its influence, as well as the interpretation/reflection of how the body affects one’s style and image.
Here are some basic concepts she found important, as a very brief and informal introduction:
Regarding Body and Image, one can consider the existence of two main aspects of psychology :
Despite the complex and different interpretations, these aspects can be simplified through the Silent Messages Chart . Based on this chart, it’s possible to translate and ponder about the impact of the first (or second, etc.) impression we portray and perceive on our everyday life, focusing mainly on:
Tone of voice
To give you a taste of what’s to come, here is the first tip to enhance your image during meetings, presentations or casual conversations: avoid the arm-cross. Crossing your arms may have a negative impact on personal traits you are trying to express such as receptivity or interest. While in this posture, there’s an increase of the gravity tension which bends your shoulders forward and diminishes the overall strength of your image. Along with the shoulders, your torso also leans forward affecting your breathing and voice tone, again compromising your image. This posture is usually an unconscious way to seek relief from stressful situations and might suggest self-importance, arrogance or disagreement.
Remember: reading body signs is subliminal and subjective, but it happens every minute and the higher your postural consciousness, the more advantages you will get from the role your image plays in your life.
I would like to invite you all to follow our periodical posts and place your questions/opinions.
References:  - Paul Shilder ;  - Albert Mehrabian, 1981
This weekend I’m enjoying a sweet getaway from the usual routine, as a way to enjoy my last days of vacation (Monday’s back to work). I traveled to Vigo to visit a couple of friends who have been living here for the last few years. Vigo is a small, beautiful seaside city located in Galicia, north of Spain, just a few hours drive from Porto. Despite having been here before in my early college years (mostly for it’s nightlife), I had never really enjoyed the city itself.
On one of those touristic tours around town I came across Santano, a great menswear store located in Calle Colón, in the city centre. Actually, I didn’t stumble upon it, my friend Gonçalo who was leading the way recommend the store to me and I’m glad he did (thanks Gonçalo!).
Seamlessly integrated in an amazing stone masonry building lies the store entrance…Once you go in you know you’re in the right place. The sheer amplitude and store design is spot on, allowing you to get a full view of the entire space from one end to the other. Incorporated in the store’s design you’ll find unique items (some of them antiques adapted to suit different purposes) such as cabinets, chairs and a beautiful hanging chandelier. Clotheswise, you’ll be spoiled by the latest collections from such renowned brands as Paul & Joe, Ralph Lauren, Ermenegildo Zegna, Henry Cottons, Brunello Cucinelli, John Smedley, Stone Island, Moncler and Lotusse.
The variety of pieces is outstanding and perfectly backed up by a carefully thought selection of high-end accessories (bowties, ties, scarves, pocket squares, cufflinks, etc.). You would do well to hold on to your wallet as you’ll face several temptations… To be honest, I had a hard time not splurging on beautiful ties, velvet slippers and a pair of amazing double monks (you really need to check Lotusse out). For those of you with a passion for bikes, Santano provides a wide selection of helmets by Zanella, sure to keep you safe while looking good (as good as you can look when wearing a helmet that is).
Also, I must stand out the 5 star service you’ll be treated to as all store employees are really nice and helpful. You can check their website here an be sure to pay them a visit if you ever happen to be in Vigo!
I’ve been selected once again for this week’s Links à La Mode from the Independent Fashion Bloggers Website! This is amazing news…be sure to check all these great posts!
Looking Forward to Looking Back for Fall
Edited by: Ann of Holier than Now Every season begins with looking back: the designers revisit trends of yore, and we fling open our oversized Tupperware bins and dig through the back of our closets to see just what it was we wore this time last year. Despite the thrill of new trends, most of us probably feel that the first Fall shopping we should do is in our own closet (View from 5 ft. 2 and Your Saving Style inspire on this front). Next step: after considering your bank account, and perhaps the pros and cons of fast fashion (see: Consumerism Killed My Soul), a visit to your local thrift store or flea market for vintage finds might replace that mall excursion you were imagining. With a wealth of inspiration from the blogosphere, there’s never been a better time to invest in - or just be inspired by - style from the past. Join us at IFB’s Evolving Influence Fashion Blogger Conference @ NYFW
Links à la Mode: August 26th
A La Modest- Note-worthy Fashion in Indie Films + Shows.
Beyond Fabric- Incorporating Traditional Local Items in Your Style
One of this year’s growing trends is definitely cut-off shorts and pants. It’s interesting to see that depending on how you wear them, they can be an alternative or a complement to the whole “cuff movement” we’ve been experiencing.
This tested and approved method has been around for ages (remember Axl Rose in his emblematic frayed denim shorts?), and it’s ready for a great comeback. They were usually associated with a rebel/badass conotation, but nowadays they can be spotted on renowned personalities and prepsters as a casual, more relaxed look with a twist.
First, you need to decide on what you’re going for: shorts or a slightly frayed hem on your jeans/chinos? After you make up your mind, all you need is the chosen pair of pants, a sharp pair of scissors, a marker and a spot on eye not to make irreversible mistakes (easier said than done though). The golden rule here is that you can always go shorter but never longer (there is no way to add fabric to the pants), meaning you should always make the first cut longer than your desired length and then slowly adjust it to your liking. This is especially true when going for shorts since it’s uncanilly easy to mess the whole process up.
This may be a breath of fresh air for your wardrobe and a great way to recycle items you no longer wear, be it because you’ve grown tired of them or they’re extremely beaten up. Plus, if your are in need of shorts and have a generous stock of pants, you’ll end up with a custom made pair and a few extra euros in your wallet. I must say I endorse cut-offs made from previously worn pants, but if you want you can always buy them new and then cut them (works great for scoring some nice slim chino shorts).
If you think the whole cut-off-frayed look is a bit too much for you, you just have to adjust it to your own style. Cut the pants and then simply roll up or have them hemmed or cuffed at your local tailor. If you choose to go with this look, just be sure to cut them a bit longer than what you desire so there’s enough fabric for your tailor to work with.
As I’ve mentioned, the usual choices for cut-offs are jeans and chinos as they’re the safest bet, but why not try other pants as well? Several great designers have presented pleated shorts recently, so why not try to make a pair out of pleated suit pants you happen to have around the house? Be creative and see where it leads you!
Top to bottom: Sid Mashburn wearing frayed Levis 501 (photo by F.Egan); Perfectly rolled up shorts (photo by The Sartorialist); Joshua Kissi from Streetetiquette in rolled up cut-offs from corduroy pants; Urban Outfitters cut-off denim shorts (photo from Bay Area Style).
For the first post of the “Size and Fit” series, I chose one of the most important pieces of menswear: the shirt. This is easily one of the most used items by men of all sorts, due to its versatility: pair a dress shirt with a power suit or an oxford shirt with chinos and you’re suitable for every occasion.
As I’ve mentioned in the previous post, most men aren’t aware of their correct size or how clothes are supposed to fit and as result they end up buying oversized pieces (usually one or two sizes up). The shirt is probably the item where most men go wrong: excess fabric creating bulges, misplaced shoulder seams, sleeves too long or wide, etc. Let’s face it, when it comes to ready-to-wear clothing it’s almost impossible to get a perfect fit: these items are mass produced to satisfy the majority of clients and body types: if you fail to meet the “standards” for which the piece was designed, chances are it will be ill-fitting. Now, I won’t assume everyone has the time, money or patience to purchase bespoke or made to measure clothes (which I recommend if you do), but there are a few tips you can follow to get the best out of off-the-rack clothing.
When it comes to shirts, my advice is to always try on two or three different sizes: when you try one that is uncomfortably small, buy one size above. Bear in mind that despite doing this, the shirt might still need some alterations (to fit your torso or to adjust sleeve length), which you can have done at the store or at your personal tailor. If you try one size down and still get the feeling the shirt is baggy on your body, this is due to the shirt cut and you should then try a slim fitting model (most brands have them nowadays). This type of shirt will adjust better to your torso and arms, giving you a slimmer figure and a better fit. To sum up, here are the three steps:
- Try on different sizes: if you think you’re a M take at least a S to the dressing room;
- If after sizing down the shirt is still baggy, go for a slim fit model;
- If after the above you feel the shirt’s not quite there yet, have it tailored for a perfect fit.
Notice that these steps are not in any particular order, I’ll leave that to your liking. I usually go straight for the slim fitting shirts and then size down or have it tailored. If you prefer a more traditional cut on your shirt, size down first and then have it tailored. It’s up to you.
In order to elucidate a few mistakes men are prone to make when buying shirts (I made them myself a couple of times), I took some photos with a fitting and an ill-fitting shirt. For a perfect comparison I would have to have the same shirt in different sizes, but either way you’ll be able to see the differences.
On the first set of pictures I’m wearing a Custom Fit Polo Ralph Lauren shirt in size M, which is a fitted version of the usual RL shirt. I’m fairly slim (1,80 m and 68kg) and a Medium is the size shop assistants usually recommend to me.
At a first glance, the shirt may seem to be somewhat fitting, especially depending on the angle at which you look at it.
It’s when you take a closer look at details that you get a glimpse of how oversized this shirt really is:
Top to bottom: 1 - excess fabric on the sides; 2 - excess fabric on the back; 3 - shoulder seam not sitting where it should and 4 - sleeves too long, with the cuff covering almost halfway through the hand.
On this second set of pictures I’m wearing a fitted H&M shirt, size S. When I bought this I tried on a M but found it too big.
Notice the differences: the soulder seam is spot on, almost no excess fabric on the sides and back and the cuff sits right where it should (beginning of the wrist)
Hope this has been helpful and you remember these tips next time your out shopping for shirts. Keep an eye out for the next entry of Size and Fit!
I can’t help to feel a sense of accomplishment for seeing my work recognised once again on the Links à La Mode from the Independent Fashion Bloggers website. I’m really excited and motivated to continuously improve my posts! Check out all the other great readings!
Last week, Links à la Mode fashioned a roundup of the latest fashion perspectives and trends for the anticipation of another highly anticipated Fall. With the “September” editions landing on our doorsteps and Mercedes Benz Fashion Week right around the corner, we brace our pocketbooks for the damage it is about to endure. Whether the latest developments in plus size fashion, a Brazilian blowout, or style inspirations, this week’s links act as a guide of both inspiration and aspirations to Fall fashion. Before we delve into snatching up the latest “it” items from our secret wish (lust) list, below are a few must reads from the intuitive fashion bloggers who share their insights of what to expect from fashion, head to toe.
Links à la Mode: August 19th
All Tumble Down- Focusing on style “best practices”; what we do well instead of what we don’t
Amanda Lee- 6 Great Ways to Repurpose Your Clothing
With all the offerings in today’s fashion industry and the power of marketing and branding, we’ve grown accostumed to shop for reputed brands in well known retailers. Throughout the years the impact of branding on our subconscious has led us to associate major labels with quality (and status). This never-ending debate will be the subject of a future post, but it makes for the perfect introduction to what I’m trying to get across…
With all the fuss about high end brands, it’s easy to overlook local labels and craftsmen which often prove to be outstanding. Be it traditional pieces in touch with current trends or a local store with an inhouse label of exceeding quality and design, there are great findings to be had.
Keep your eyes open when walking around town and you may be in for a treat. Of course you have to make use of your fashion sense and trend spotting ability, but it will be worth it and on the plus side you’ll be supporting local economy and development.
A few examples of this “revival” fashion in Portugal are the traditional scarves from Minho (used by Portuguese designers Storytailors in their women’s collection), gold filigree jewellery and Nazare’s fisherman shirts. All of them can be easily worn by fashion forward people.
Besides these culture imbued items, there are amazing bespoke stores in Porto, some of them are family businesses almost a century old (check out Gentleman located in the building of Mercado do Bolhão). You’ll be able to order custom/bespoke pieces at a great price/quality ratio.
I recommend you do some research about your social and cultural heritage and try to come up with fashionable items to incorporate in your wardrobe. Go local!
We’ve link exchanged in the past but I’ve changed my blog name and my URL now. It has changed from High Fashion Whore to The Button Owl, and my new URL is http://thebuttonowl.tumblr.com/
I’d be really grateful if you changed these details in your link.
Nesha, The Button Owl
Unless you’re completely unaware of any fashion developments in the last year or so, you might’ve noticed that rolling your pants up is all the rage right now. Be it jeans or chinos, creating a cuff that sits right above the ankle has become a mandatory procedure in the everyday routine of fashionable men.
There has been a lot of debate about the appropriate height and rolling techniques, but my advice is to do it your own way: you’re the one who has to feel good about it, so forget about third party’s opinions. I usually roll them 2 times, which places the bottom of the cuff right above my ankle: this gives it a nice visual aesthetic and a relaxed feel as well.
Besides the visual effect the cuff itself provides, the main reason behind it is all about fit: by creating a cuff you’re adding weight to the bottom of the pant which makes for a better draping.
This is easily stated in dressier versions such as slacks or suit pants: as the fabric is more flexible than the one used in jeans or chinos, the effect provided by cuffs is that more evident. Also, in these type of pants you can’t create a cuff by rolling them up, you must have them tailored and the cuff will be permanent (the normal cuff height is about 3 cm).
Another important subject, especially for dressier pants, is to aim for little to no break. The break is the horizontal crease created by your pants when they touch the shoe (this is more noticeable in uncuffed pants but also applies to cuffed). Thus, a full break will create a deep crease and cover most of your shoe (the pant will hit at the top of the sole), and a short break will have your pant hit at the top of your shoe, removing the crease and creating a continuous line for the eye which makes your look taller and slimmer. The short break is the standard for high end Italian suits and has become popular by the extreme interpretation of Thom Browne and his “high waters”. Also, a short break will keep your shoes showing, affecting their impact in the whole attire.
I’m not suggesting you to cuff every single one of your pants, but this is a great look to pull of sometimes and it’s versatile enough to fit different styles. Go for it!
Left - Full break (photo from Mensxp); Right - No break (photo from Alistair1958). I chose pictures of uncuffed pants since it’s easier to observe the break.
Above, perfectly cuffed pants with no break: 1 - The Rubinaccis (photo by The Sartorialist); 2 - Lino Ieluzzi (photo from Prepidemic)
I am really happy to have been selected once again for the Links à La Mode, from the Independent Fashion Bloggers website. Third week in a row! =))
Fast Forward to Fall
Edited by: Florrie Clarke of Intrinsically Florrie. The trends for the coming months were dictated back on the catwalks in February, but now as September draws closer it’s time to get our teeth into them and have a good hard think about those all important autumn buys. Particularly seeing as while I type this the weather is strongly urging me towards a winter wardrobe. This week’s links both look to winter and bask in the remaining sun. We look at a fashion interpretation of the current oil spill disaster (intelligent or tasteless?), are inspired by gorgeous fashion illustrations and a chain bag DIY, debate the history of the ‘prep’ look and think about how all our choices determine our body shape.
Links à la Mode: August 16th
a la modest: High-waisted jeans (a.k.a. mom jeans) are back in vogue!
Porto’s downtown has been receiving a lot of hype for the last couple of years: bars, stores and events are all happening there.
The area surrounding “Praça dos Leões” has always been a night’s out destination for those wanting to have a few drinks with their friends in such iconic places as the “Piolho” Cafe. Nowadays, however, the sheer amount of cultural and social offerings have created a momentum for an ever evolving city centre, providing not only an impressive nightlife but a day one as well.
One of the most appealing projects, for me, is the one regarding local street markets held on famous streets and plazas:
- Porto Belo Market: a miniature take on the original Nothing Hill’s Portobello, held in Praça Carlos Alberto;
- Clérigos Market: taking place in Cândido dos Reis St. and organized by Plano B (a well reputed club located in the same street), expect to find all sorts of entertainment and items;
- Feiras Francas: national and international artists show their work in this event at Palácio das Artes;
- Flea Market: Maus Hábitos club has been housing this market dedicated to all things vintage.
You’ll come across all kinds of antiques, artifacts, vintage clothing, jams, wines, designer pieces, art, accessories, you name it. When it comes to clothes, the offer isn’t enough for you to replace regular shopping at retailers, but you are likely to find a special vintage or designer item to give that extra something to your look.
I recommend taking a stroll through these markets as a getaway from the usual weekend routine as there’s always a nice vibe surrounding the events. Also, while you’re at it, keep an eye out for the amazing historical heritage, both built and cultural.
Long goes the time when poor vision was seen as an awful thing solved only by dreadful eyeglasses. If you had a problematic vision as child you know what I’m talking about, the last thing you want is to wear glasses: we all know how cruel children can be and the kind of “insults” you’re to expect (four eyes comes to mind…)
It’s bad enough that you have a condition that forces you to wear something that changes your overall look, let alone get mocked in the process. I believe that’s why most people (myself included) changed their prescription to contact lenses as soon as they could.
Regarding glasses though, the mocking part fortunately goes away when you grow up, but the change in your appearance does not. Thankfully, fashion, as society, is constantly evolving and spectacles have not only been accepted but become a symbol of style and self expression.
Eyewear has become increasingly bolder and extravagant to the point of being a statement piece. The past trend of wearing seamlessly invisible glasses has given place to thick,textured and colored frames of all shapes and sizes.
With such a vast catalogue to choose from, you’re sure to find something suitable to your type of face and personal taste. So ditch the contacts and be proud of your eyewear!
If, like me, you have a thing for original and quality accessories, chances are you’re always on the lookout for interesting additions to your collection. However, I am always struggling to find something suitable to my taste, especially when it comes to neckwear.
I have a hard time finding ties that fit my standards regarding width, pattern, sheen and texture: they are usually too wide (+ 5cm), shiny, with boring patterns and made from dubious materials.
This is why I was so excited to find out about Pierrepont Hicks, an American brand with a devotion (and an inherent gift) for making quality neckwear. Mac, a civil engineer for 12 years and Kat, who worked for a decade in fashion and publishing for major labels, are the couple behind the brand. Together, they are filling a gap in the market of men’s neckwear when it comes to outstanding quality and design, at an affordable price. All of their ties are manufactured in New York by master craftsmen and each of them can undergo up to sixteen steps during production.
But Pierrepont Hicks offers more than just ties, however amazing they may be. Their collection also includes reversible bowties (adding extra flare and versatility), pocket squares and the ability to order custom made items to attend to your special needs.
Their main line “Pierrepont Hicks”, consists of cotton and wool/silk ties with original plaid patterns and details on the thinner blade of the tie (usually in another color and fabric). The width is perfect, not too wide or skinny, allowing you to sport them to the office or on a night out. Besides the amazing patterned items, you’ll be able to find more classic models in solid colors, to tone things down when needed. Also, their luxury line “Hatchery” is coming out soon, providing handmade ties made from superior quality fabrics.
(All photos from the official website)
Their online shop ships worldwide with affordable shipping costs, the highest being 19 USD for international orders. I have contacted them in the past and got a prompt response so I can attest to their costumer service. Next time you need any neckwear, check their website at http://pierreponthicks.com/default.aspx and place an order!
For taking neckwear to the next level Pierrepont Hicks receives Beyond Fabric’s Stamp of Approval!
In order to portray a perfect silhouette, one that projects elegance, confidence and overall perfection, fit is essential: I can’t stress it enough.
A slim figure will flatter your body shape, making you look your absolute best. The truth is that most men don’t know their measures or correct size: some don’t even have a clue when it comes to fit. Sure, they are able to wander the stores and grab a somewhat fitting item, but more often than not it will be on the looser side of the spectrum.
Ever noticed a bulge on your shirt, right above the belt? That is usually the result of an oversized shirt: the extra fabric accumulates over the pants causing the bulge (pants may also be responsible for this).
A simple, yet effective way to enhance your look is to size down: you might think your size is a Medium but please try on a Small, it may work wonders for you. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to every item and I’m not supporting the idea of skin-tight clothes, but I recommend you try it. Next time you’re out shopping, just pick both sizes of the item you want and take them to the dressing room, it only takes you an extra 2 minutes and can make a huge difference.
If sizing down isn’t an option and you’ve got your size right, try experimenting with different models and cuts. Nowadays, most brands have a “slim” or “fitted” label which will adjust better to your body shape. Give them a try!
A common misconception is that fitted or tailored clothing equals discomfort: this “urban myth” couldn’t be further from the truth. Looking smart and fabulous can be easily accomplished while feeling great, bear this in mind.
Wrong Weather is more than a store…Located in the Boavista Avenue, right next to the Casa da Música, the large glass windows with the store’s logo engraved read: “Fashion and Lifestyle for Contemporary Men”, but that sentence doesn’t do justice to what’s in store for you.
The project, initiated by João Pedro Vasconcelos with the collaboration of Miguel Flor aimed to provide a different concept on the usual store, one that would merge their passion for fashion, art and design. Sucess is the word for what they’ve come up with…
The moment you walk in you can’t help to feel like you have just come out of a time machine 100 years into the future. The store’s design is heavily influenced by a futuristic vision, sure to remind you of a sci-fi spaceship worthy of any Hollywood blockbuster. The mix of carefully placed lightning with dark colored surfaces and elements inspired by Rem Koolhaas’ Casa da Música, definitely set the mood for the whole concept.
As you make your way through the store you’ll find a vast selection of items focused on catering to your every need:
- High-end clothes, accessories, shoes and grooming products to indulge your vanity;
- Artifacts and designer items for your place;
- Notebooks and pens to write down your every thought;
- A gallery, housing temporary exhibits that will put to peace your craving for creativity and all forms of art.
Keep in mind that all items on display exude quality, as one has come to expect from top notch brands. Wrong Weather houses some of the industry’s top names, such as Dries Van Noten, Common Projects, Commes des Garçons, A.P.C. and Yohji Yamamoto. Besides these, you’ll be able to find the in-house label named after the store, which presents a more affordable price tag while maintaining great materials and fit.
One of the things that impressed me the most was the grooming products’ cabinet at the back of the store: exclusive fragances, moisturizers, shaving creams, concealers, cleansers, you name it. Take your time going through it, you won’t regret it. Above this cabinet you’ll notice the see through glass offices and photo studio.
Wrong Weather also has an e-shop that ships worldwide so everyone can get a hold of their items. Check their website at http://www.wrongweather.net and pay them a visit!
I’m very excited to have been selected for the second week in a row for the Links à La Mode from the Independent Fashion Bloggers website. Thank you all for the support!
Jealousy, Race, and Summer Jackets
Edited by: Thom Wong of The Sunday Best. A veritable cornucopia of stylish reading awaits you in this week’s list. You’ll get taken on a tour of (rarely mentioned) downtown Halifax, discuss again whether any role model should be based on image, and look into doing the impossible with a dying medium. Along the way discover what tips men might have for women’s style, whether a closet can be perfectly unisex, and what Mormons might know about minimalism.
One of the things I hear men complain about often, is the amout of stuff they have to carry in their pockets. For some, the issue is the extra weight whereas others hate moving around with a bulge in their pants (no pun intended). Those of you with a girlfriend or who usually hang out with girls, know your inventory tends to end up in their purses. So, why not keep your belongings with you at all times?
Grab yourself a bag…not a men purse, but a proper bag. You might be a bit reluctant at first, and it may take a while to get used to, but when you see how versatile it is on your everyday life you’ll be glad you bought it. It will allow you to carry your work stuff, address book, ipad, camera, gym gear, etc.
I know there is an undeniable animosity by men when it comes to wearing bags: most believe they are strictly for women or gay men (which happen to be some of the best dressed men around). Although it’s true that some oversized and excentric bags may be more feminine, the amount of options available will allow you to choose something to your liking while keeping your manliness. I believe that besides the bag itself, your overall attitude and posture are the ones to dictate how you come off, be it manly or effeminate. So, forget about stereotypes, man up and pick up a bag! Here are some options:
- The Holdall: this is meant to carry all of your everyday needs and serves as a great luggage for weekend getaways. It is usually associated with a more relaxed look, so don’t pair ir with a suit.
- The Duffel Bag: similar to the Holdall but with a cylindrical shape and usually made of cloth. The name Duffel comes from the town where the original cloth used for making the bag was produced. It’s also associated with a more casual look and became popular among sailors and Marines.
- The Messenger/Courier Bag: as the name states, these were originally carried by messengers. They have a shoulder strap which comes down across your chest, placing them near the hip (height is adjustable though). These type of bags are supposed to be light and able to carry mostly essential items and can come in a variety of fabrics. The courier is a slight variation of the messenger bag, usually smaller and seen of the back of cyclers. Both are associated with an urban vibe and streetwear, but recent twists on design and the use of exquisite leathers have taken them up a notch.
- The Tote Bag: shopping bag meets real life: an adaptation of the fabric shopping bag provided at stores, the tote has made it’s way into the hands of society placing itself as one of the most popular bags around. Nowadays, it’s viewed as an alternative to the traditional briefcase and depending on its material it may have a formal or casual feel.
- The Backpack: you might remember this as your highschool partner back then… Meant to be carried on your back, this bag has been around for ages adapting itself to our ever changing needs. As such, you will be able to find proper men backpacks, something that will not have you looking like a kid. Even so, I would advise you to try one of the above mentioned options instead of playing it safe with a backpack.
- The Briefcase: Although not being a “bag” in its essence, if you wear a suit on a daily basis you will need one of these. The traditional addition to any business attire, the leather briefcase has been and will continue to be the first choice for entrepeneurs and power players around the world. You simply can’t do business without it and when paired with a flawless suit and shoes, people know you mean business. My advice here is to keep it simple: stay away from bold designs, excessive metalic details, shiny leathers and unusual colors. Instead, go for a classic case in dark brown or black and be sure to splurge, this is one of those items where quality leather makes a huge difference and it’s worth it.
Hermès (photo from Luxist) and Ermenegildo Zegna (photo by Ted Morrison)
I first heard of Buttero when I spotted some beautiful handmade shoes over at Por Vocação. Being an unknown brand to me, I must say I was quite taken with both the design and quality of their shoes. However, it was not until recently on a trip to Milan, that I bought my first pair.
(One of the brand’s advertisements: check the rest at their website)
Buttero is a family company founded in 1974 by Mauro Sani, in Tuscany. The original concept was inspired by “western” style (Buttero itself is the name given to tuscan cowboys), and consisted mainly of boots crafted with ingenious details such as side pockets for storing cigarettes and matches. Hence, it’s no wonder that fame arrived in the form of western spaghetti actor Giuliano Gemma, who grew a passion for them. The brand’s reputation grew even stronger later on, when their shoes stood the test of endurance at the feet of the Mille Miglia’s race drivers.
Nowadays the brand is owned by Mauro’s sons, who aim to provide the traditional outstanding craftsmanship combined with trendy, updated designs. Their handmade collection includes loafers, mocassins, ankle boots, sneakers, lace-ups and sandals. Whichever model you choose, quality is guaranteed as is the intense fragance of the brand’s natural leathers originating from Santa Croce’s tanneries.
(All photos from Buttero’s official website)
Their Milan showroom was of the few shoe shops where I could picture myself wearing virtually every item. I ended up buying a couple of boat shoes, but will definitely be on the look out for their winter boots.
(My boat shoes, they’re like walking on air)
Unfortunately they don’t have an online shop, so you either have to visit one of their showrooms or retail partners to get your hands on their items. Check their website at www.buttero.it.
For being my new favourite shoe brand, Buttero receives Beyond Fabric’s Stamp of Approval.
If you like music, you’ve most surely heard something influenced by Pharrell Williams’ amazing talent. Be it as N.E.R.D.’s frontman or pairing with Chad Hugo as the duo Neptunes, his mark on the music industry is well reported. But this Virginia born artist plays his cards right when it comes to fashion as well, being nominated several times for “best dressed man” by the likes of GQ or Esquire.
Leaving his hip hop outfits aside, Pharrell is able to embody pure male elegance while maintaining his uncanny cool by perfectly mixing color, texture and pattern. Although some of his looks may be over the top due to the whole artist background, one can’t help but be inspired.
(Above: 1 -It all works together: patterned vest, polka dot pocket square and tie in similar color palette, crisp pink striped shirt; 2 - Perfectly pulled off “all white” look. Photos from fanpix.net)
(Above: 1 - The timeless peacoat; 2 - Ivy League: striped shirt with contrasting collar, striped tie and blazer with contrasting lapel. Photos from pharrell-williams.net)
Ever wondered why your shirts get those yellow stains in the armpit area?
If you check the label on your deodorant, it will likely read some type of aluminum based ingredient, usually aluminum chlorohydrate. The pesky stains are actually the result of a chemical reaction between your sweat and the aluminum contained in the deodorant. These type of stains are incredibly hard to remove (even with stain removers) and on colored shirts they can cause a permanent discoloration, resembling the effect of bleach.
The best way to protect your clothing is to act preemptively, which means buying an aluminum-free deodorant. Don’t be fooled by those “Invisible Dry” products found at the supermarket, if you look at the label you will still find aluminum listed.
Look strictly for products that read “aluminum free”, you’ll be able to find them at your local pharmacy from brands such as La Roche Posay, Vichy or Roc. Another option is to try other professional apothecary brands like Malin+Goetz.
(Photos from the brands’ official websites)
Be aware though, that despite causing stains, aluminum is the most effective ingredient against perspiration and body odor: therefore, when going “sans aluminum” you might have to try a few products in order to find the best match for your body chemistry.
PS: If you have an item with these kind of stains, try gently rubbing the area with an active oxygen based product and leave it on for a few minutes, prior to washing.
This week’s links bound across time as we go from the first incarnations of the handbag, to both the glamour and reality of the mid-20th Century and the modern phenomenon of online shopping. And when, in all this, will women be happy with their bodies? Debenhams may now be using unretouched images alongside the photoshopped, but the Daily Mail and the UK’s new equalities minister have decreed a new, and for a lot of us unattainable, body shape for us to aim for.
Links à la Mode: July 29th
Amanda Lee: How to Do More With the Clothes You Have [Instead of Buying More]
You might have noticed that I’ve mentioned Por Vocação in several of my previous posts. There’s a reason for it (besides being a personal favourite)…
Located in Porto’s main avenue, Boavista, near the iconic Casa da Música, a black overhang with the store’s name marks the entrance. Upon arrival, you will be greeted by one of the (if not the) best shopping window you’ve ever laid eyes on. Whichever installation they have on display is sure to blow you away:
Once you ring the doorbell, the store’s trademark scent invites you in: an inebriating fig essence liberated by a carefully concealed device, ensures the brand remains a well kept secret… And so your experience begins…
(The masked scent diffuser)
What’s in store for you is more than the usual garments: think of it as a haven for the modern man…from the finest clothes, shoes and accessories, to exquisite fragances, grooming products and scented candles (after all your place is a reflection of yourself). The name “Por Vocação” itself is a hint on what to expect: a carefully thought play on words with “Provocação”, which tries to express how their calling for fashion will entice and tease you (to buy that is).
On the back of the store, clients are allowed access to the “backstage”: here lies the storage room, office, and (taking it to a whole new level), two photo studios - one for clothing alone and the other for shoots with models.
I’m digressing…the main focus here is clothing. Expect to find the latest creations from the likes of Sir Paul Smith, Neil Barrett, Maison Martin Margiela, Raf Simmons, Boglioli, Aquarama, Acne, Buttero, Raparo..and their latest addition Adam Kimmel.
You can check their website at www.porvocacao.com and keep an eye out for the upcoming online store.
Tattoos have been, for many years, associated with certain stereotypes commonly regarded as “negative”: bikers, sailors, outlaws, convicts, etc. Come to think of it, they still hold that same negative connotation for many people, despite their ever growing popularity.
However, tattoos’ origins are ancient (dating as old as 4000 BC, found in mummies) and far more noble, usually associated with religious rituals and beliefs among tribes.
The Maori are one of the tribes with a strong relation to body art. Image from wikipedia.org)
In the last ten or so years, we have seen a greater exposure and somewhat acceptance of tattoos, since they can be seen everywhere: soccer players, singers, actors, celebrities… Yet, the truth remains that the more conservative part of our society will always look down on those who decide to add art to their bodies. Thus, what happens is that most people are affraid of social/professional repercussions and opt to hide their artwork (you would be surprised by the number of successful, highly reputed people who sport tattoos in hiding).
I just want to state how refreshing it feels to see people embracing their body art on a daily basis and incorporating it into the overall look:
Photos by The Sartorialist
Photos by Tommy Ton
Philip Crangi - Photo by Ben Watts
We should all be inspired by the sense of individuality, expression and confidence shown by the people in these photos. I don’t usually post pictures of women, but these helped me make my point besides looking great.
During the warmer months we all feel the urge to wear fresh, breathable clothing, preferably made of linen, seersucker or cotton. However, depending on your local weather and the daily thermal amplitude, your summer wardrobe should consist of more than shorts, tees and short sleeve shirts. We’ve all experienced those chilly summer evenings which catch us off-guard in our beachy outfits, making our teeth chatter. The challenge in finding a suitable piece for those situations is the somewhat mild temperature: your winter jackets and sweaters will prove to be too much.
Besides looking for items made of light weight fabrics, you should look for versatility: after all, you want to make the most out of your money. Try finding a transitional piece that will also be suitable for early fall (cotton is great since it’s an all year fabric).
Clothes, besides serving the basic purpose of protecting you against the environment, and your private parts from the ever watching critical eye of society (Janet Jackson incident is in order), are a means of expression. Well, at least to a certain extent since that same society we’re a part of, dictates and defines rules, protocols and standards for what’s commonly accepted.
Thus, we may find ourselves in uncomfortable situations due to an inadequate outfit or a concept of style unshared by those around you. Although I’m a firm believer that one should stay true to oneself, we have to realize and accept that there’s a time and place for everything.
This is especially true once you enter the job market. Depending on your area of expertise, the company you work for, the country you’re in, etc., the appropriate dress code may vary a great deal.
For those of you who work in creative areas, chances are you’re not required to dress in a specific manner; also, if you must wear an uniform, it pretty much removes the issue from the equation. However, this post is aimed for those who must present themselves in a dressier fashion, usually in a suit. We have all seen professionals who aren’t dressed accordingly (be it men or women), unaware that it may push customers away or lead to issues with your superiors (I’ve seen it happen before).
Bear in mind that I’m in no way trying to tell you what to dress: I’m just trying to make a point and list a few pointers that may help avoid those situations:
- Avoid showing too much skin : your shirt should have the top two buttons undone, no more;
(Unless you’re a celebrity or rock star (and even then), keep your hairy chest to yourself. Photo from www.eonline.com)
- Stay away from excessively bright colored pieces : I love color and playing with it in the overall look, but do it discreetly, there’s no need to be the center of attention specially for all the wrong reasons. A pocket square is a great alternative way to add color and personality to your look, try it;
(Neon pants may be a bit too much for the office. Photo by Tommy Ton)
- Never wear white sport socks : I mean..NEVER!! As the name implies these are meant for sports only. Pair them with dress shoes and your credibility is gone for good…seriously now, you’ll look like you’ve injured both feet and they’ve been cast in plaster.
(This image speaks for itself… Photo from individualism.co.uk)
- Trade in the tee : If a more informal occasion arises, such as casual friday or a company rendezvous, wear a polo shirt instead of a tee. It will keep you cool and relaxed but looking more put together. Look for a slim fitting model;
(Notice the length and fit of the sleeve. Photo by Tommy Ton)
- Lose the squared toe shoes : These are outdated and add a bulky feeling to your look. Go for a sleek shoe with a round or slightly pointy toe.
- Don’t over accessorize: this is mostly seen on women but men can go wrong here as well. A watch and the eventual ring/bracelet are acceptable, but try not to throw everything on at once: the visual impact will be greater with one well thought item;
(Despite being one of the actual few who can pull it off, even he gets it wrong sometimes; you don’t want too much going on in your look. Photo from www.interweb.in)
- Wear your pants in your waist: Wearing your jeans a bit lower may be fine, but suit pants should fit you flawlessly so wear them where they’re meant to. And don’t you dare flashing your underwear around the office;
Despite being all up for the retro inspired movement that has been making it’s way into people’s wrists (digital gold cased Casios being my personal favourite, specially if you score the model with incorporated keyboard), I believe a man should have a few distinctive horological pieces in his inventory. Look for swiss made watches from long established manufacturers, with a heritage of quality craftsmanship. I am well aware of the price tags on most of these pieces but consider it a lifetime item, a legacy to be passed on generation to generation (most of mine were previously my father’s which adds a sentimental value).
Fortunately, there are a few great watches that won’t leave you on the brink of bankruptcy (assuming you have not won the lottery), such as this model from Bell & Ross. You probably heard of Bell & Ross as a manufacturer of sturdy watches for professional uses (think of astronauts, pilots, divers, etc.) and instinctively envision their most famous model the Instrument BR, inspired by aircraft panels’ indicators. With numerous models available in the Instrument BR Collection, the BR-S Ceramic presents itself as a beautiful and affordable option. It is also available in different colors and with other straps.
Miguel Bombarda is easily one of Porto’s most famous streets, mainly due to the numerous art galleries which populate it. Fashion is often associated and inspired by art, so it’s no surprise that alternative clothing stores made their way into the surroundings. Nowadays, the whole area transpires of a young, trendy vibe which appeals to a wide public off all ages.
Within this context, Ricardo Rodrigues and Carlos Carneiro brought to life their love for menswear and accessories in the form of Coisas d’Homem. Located in CC Bombarda, the store presents a unique identity composed of a mix of retro and edgy design elements.
The concept is focused mostly on men accessories, aiming to fill the gap between the offer available to men and women. Hence, you’ll be able to find bowties, ties, scarves, braces, vests, hats, bracelets, rings, bags, spectacles…you name it. Most of these items are their own creations and only one of each is available, meaning you won’t stumble upon someone wearing the same. There are also pieces from selected brands such as Ben Sherman, Merc and Troop London, among others.
Accessories can make or break an outfit, so head to Coisas d’Homem and start building or improving your collection! Don’t forget to sign for a client account to take full advantage of the benefits provided.
The Internet has changed our lives in many ways, providing easy access to information, people and items…As expected, online commerce has grown to astonishing proportions enabling consumers to buy products from the comfort of their living room. For better or worse, fashion industry has long established itself as a major player when it comes to online shopping.
So…is it worth updating your wardrobe online?
As most things in life there are pros and cons to online shopping…I believe your virtual shopping experience may be influenced (either way) by a multitude of factors. Based on my personal experience, here is a list of things to bear in mind when buying online:
- Personal style : If you embrace a fitted and trim silhouette, it will be a daunting task to find an item that looks like it was made for you, without trying it on. It’s true that most stores have a sizing chart available, but chances are you don’t know your measures and even if you do, fit is everything and those charts are often innacurate. If you’re not obssessed with a perfect fit and can deal with an item that may look slightly off, online may be an option;
This kind of perfection cannot be achieved “online" (Photo by The Sartorialist)
- Experience : what do you look for when buying a new garment? The item itself or the overall experience of going shopping? I, for one, love going to my favourite store, taking my time browsing through all the pieces, talking to the owner to know more about particular items and listening to the advice they give according to your client profile…if you usually rush shopping because you only need to supress a need for a certain item, order away;
- Type of item : depending on what you’re looking for, online may be more or less adequate. A suit is a piece you should get at a store, by trying out different models and having them tailored to your body and liking. In fact, I would say this applies for most items but for some jackets, tees and shirts buying online may serve you well;
A suit should make you feel like a million bucks, have it tailored to your body type (Photo from www.boston.com)
- First purchase or not : since you cannot try on your garments before buying, online shopping works best when you shop for a brand or item you’re familiar with. Doing so will allow you to know how it fits and the correct size, ensuring satisfaction with the final product. On the other hand, an unknown brand may have a completely different sizing and fitting from what you would expect;
Buying a similar item from a familiar brand makes things easier (Photo from photobucket.com)
- Where you’re buying : buying from auction sites such as Ebay may put you through some ordeals. It’s true that there are amazing deals to be had but you may also end up with an item that doesn’t match the description or never arrives in the first place (happened to me a couple of times). Fortunately, Paypal ensures a satisfying customer service and money back warranty. If you purchase from an official online store these issues are hard to come across;
- Shipping Costs and Returns : be aware that shipping costs can represent considerable sums for your order (shipping from US to Portugal can easily cost 50€ depending on the order). In fact, there are few countries where shipping and return costs are covered by the shops and not the client. If for some reason you need to return your item, the costs will be supported by you.
Looking for a stylish read during your summer holidays? I’ll leave you with two suggestions:
The Sartorialist - based on the famous homonymous blog by Scott Schumann, this book is a (small) compilation of the outstanding photos he has been sharing for the last five years. A must have for all fashion and style lovers, the book presents photographs of both famous and anonymous people from all over the world, whose personal style and identity caught Scott’s eye. It portrays nowadays globalized society through the universal language of fashion, from mutual influences to those dictacted by specific ethnical or cultural traditions.
I can easily imagine my great-great-grandchildren going through the book and having a laugh about “style back then…”, much like we do with the 80’s.
Take Ivy (reedition by Powerhouse Books) - originally published in Japan in 1965, this book was a joint project of four Japanese style enthusiasts who captured the essence of American Ivy League students’ dress code and lifestyle. Interesting enough, the book was responsible for introducing prep style to Japanese students living in the Ginza district of Tokyo.
Considered by many as one of the most important references on American prep style, it has earned the status of a highly sought collector’s item.
Gossip Girl has become a widespread sucess due to the combination of beautiful young people, high-end fashion and the sexually charged glamour lifestyle of it’s characters. Taking Manhattan’s Upper East Side as background, the show portrays New York’s elite by following their everyday events. Needless to say the two main female characters spend a fair amount of their time shopping in stores most of us wouldn’t dream of…
Still, this post is focused on the most iconic character of show: Chuck Bass (played by Ed Westwick). The show’s stylist, Eric Daman, has done an outstanding job at choosing the outfits for this narcissistic, egotistical and snobbish 19-year-old heir of one of NY’s greatest fortunes. Besides betting on some bold statement pieces, you can’t help to notice the attention given to accessories: ties, ascots, bowties, braces, pocket squares, hats, scarves…you name it:
I am aware that most of these looks are overwhelming for a daily use, mainly because most of the accessories shown are associated with dandyism and elistism. However, you can be inspired to take (calculated) risks and have fun with your outfits, by giving them a splash of color and extra flare. Another important aspect to retain is his attitude and posture: if you imagine most guys trying to pull off those looks, chances are they would look ridiculous… Chuck, on the other hand, makes it seem natural by transpiring self-confidence and the right amount of cockyness. (keep an eye out for an upcoming post on posture and body language).
Ahh…Shoes…one of the most mystical items of any ensemble…women love them and men….well….they do too. Shoes have a strange aura that compels people to buy and collect them, whether they need them or not. Before, when you thought about shoes you might envision women fighting over a pair which is 50% off at a retailer. Nowadays, besides upgrading that vision to Sarah Jessica Parker in Manolo’s, you might have noticed that men are paying ever growing attention to the shoes they wear.
These double monk straps are all over the Internet, photo from The Sartorialist.
It’s a fact that gentleman and smart dressed men have long ago understood the importance of a sharply buffed pair of handmade leather shoes, but now that knowledge is being slowly passed on to young men. I must admit that until recently, I too didn’t truly appreciate the art and craftsmanship that goes into making a pair of high-end men shoes. All that changes when you acquire you first pair..and watch this video (800€ price tag..rings a bell?):
You have to look at high-end shoes as an investment: they WILL cost you but if you care for them they can last decades. When looking for high quality shoes you can take the safe route: choose a model from luxury brands such as Tod’s, Church, Crockett and Jones, John Lobb, Alden, etc; or opt for a lesser known brand that provides quality nonetheless (some spanish brands come to mind: Barrats or Lotusse).
The guys over at Prepidemic have come up with an amazing guide on what to look for when buying quality shoes so be sure to check it:
If you have been looking for a plaid shirt for those blistering hot summer days, Our Legacy has listened to your prayers. Their Iceland checked button down in linen is sure to keep you cool (literally), and at 30% off, now it’s the time to grab one.
If you follow menswear blogs or sites, chances are that you have come upon the name Our Legacy. This swedish brand (surprise anyone?) is quickly becoming one the “must haves” of the season, thanks to their unique take on timeless classics. Instead of going for crazy-over-the-top designs, Our Legacy bet is on impecable quality and fit. I recently purchased a couple of oxford button downs, and take my word for it…once you try them on, these swedes will earn a soft spot in your heart.
As it has been happening with many other high-end brands, all products are manufactured right here in Portugal, so besides purchasing great clothes you’ll be supporting Portuguese craftsmanship.
Imagine, just for a moment, that due to an unfortunate turn of events your wardrobe was narrowed to a mere 10 items. What garments/accessories couldn’t you do without? Take it as a different approach on the mandatory pageant question: “if you were stranded on a desert island….”, but instead take a moment to evaluate what is really useful or what represents you best on a daily basis. Also, it may provide you with a few pointers on what’s a keeper, when carrying out the dreaded sorting of clothes you have been postponing for the last couple of years.
Here’s my list (in no particular order):
- Levi’s 511 slim (preferably in a dark wash);
- Sunglasses: Rayban Original Wayfarer or Aviators;
- Chinos (in khaki, navy, black ..) - mine are from ACNE, love the slim fit
- Oxford shirt (solid colored, striped, checked and in a variety of colours);
- Canvas plimsoles (love the ones found at the hardware stores in Bricklane, London, 7€)
- Navy Peacoat (timeless classic and keeps you warm in the freezing cold)
- Boat Shoes (rock them all year long, no socks if your ankles can stand the cold)
- A reliable watch (if you love them as much as I do invest in a horological timepiece, it will be passed on to your children)
- A trenchcoat ( I prefer the ones with the belt, and a tailored fit)
- And last but not least you may call me a cheater, but I couldn’t decide whether I should list a blazer for it’s versatility or a vintage item to spice things up with a bit of embodied story and personality…so I managed to merge them into a single item: my vintage double breasted tweed blazer
Whether you love or hate Portugal Prime Minister José Socrates, one thing is certain: he always looks his best. From his bespoke suits and shirts to the impecable tie knot his whole ensemble expresses perfection. To top it off, he complements the whole look with one aspect men usually disregard after dressing up: a perfect grooming. If you are wearing a tailored suit and shirt, silk tie and dark wingtips you might as well shave/trim your scruff and care for your hair.
This blog was created as a means to share my view on personal style, how it reflects on your image and the way people perceive you.
I will try to stay away from “labels” on what it comes to style but if I where to describe my own, it would be something like classic with a twist (think Paul Smith as one of my personal favourites). I like to mix different elements such as high end pieces with vintage leather jackets and have fun while doing it - that’s a reminder: have fun with your clothes. Above all, I look for pieces with a timeless design, and the best quality and fit I can find.
Despite not having a degree on fashion or design, my ever increasing passion for men’s bespoke, tailoring, styling and self expression has led me to create Beyond Fabric.