Of all the markets that have been happening around the city of Porto, one of the most praised is, without a doubt, Spot’s Flea Market. Originally held at Maus Hábitos, one of the hippest clubs in downtown Porto, this market invites everyone to scavenge their attics and storerooms in search of long lost treasures and sell or trade them. Flea’s motto is: “one man’s garbage is another man’s gold”, and rightfully so since you’re sure to find something of interest in one of the many item packed sellers’ displays. The whole event is much more about the social experience, having a nice time and getting to know people, than it is about making money (especially since Portuguese people haven’t got into the concept of vintage yet). As such, despite the reluctance of the attending audience to actually purchase something, you’re assured a well spent afternoon.
The last edition in particular (which took place last Saturday), was held outdoors on the precinct of Edifício Transparente, a seaside building known for its restaurants, cafes and sport related stores and activities. The underlying theme for this edition was Surf, but people were welcome to bring all sorts of items, which I did. The whole surf vibe gave the event a unique feel, which emphasized by the sounds played by invited DJs and drinks from the outdoor bar, built the setting for a perfect time. To spice things up a bit, there was a demo of tarp surfing, courtesy of my friends over at Janga Revolt: check the videos on the next post!
There are always great findings to be had at Flea so keep an eye out for the next edition. Until then, here are some pics of the last one:
I’ve got to admit that I have a thing for leather jackets. I don’t know if it’s the feel of the leather itself or the whole “bad boy” conotation, but the truth is I fancy them. A trim fitting leather jacket, (running one size smaller to give it that sleek appearance) is a great alternative to have in your closet. However, I must say I prefer vintage leather as it has that worn-in, distressed look and has lost that overly bright sheen, trademark of brand new pieces (I’m aware that many of you might think I’ve lost it right now). The thing about vintage is that more often than not you’ll fall in love with pieces which are either too big or too small, leaving a bitter taste in your mouth. If the jacket’s too small there’s not much you can do, but if it runs a tad big, there are a few alterations you can have done at your tailor (talk to him to know which). As I’m always on the look for a “new” vintage leather jacket, I was excited to hear that one of my favourite stores was shooting a D.Y.I. (do it yourself) guide for shortening sleeves of so called jackets. The guys over at Por Vocação spent a whole day processing the alterations on one of their items and photographed the whole thing for our delight. I would advise against trying this by yourself on a new leather jacket (by the way they have some great ones instore), but if you score a vintage one at a ridiculous price it might be worth the test. Here’s the whole process with pics and captions, courtesy of Por Vocação:
The original jacket.
Measuring the new sleeve length.
Getting rid of the seams.
Unstitching the zipper.
Open sleeve and zipper on the side.
Cutting the lining after careful measuring.
Reattaching the lining back to the cuff.
Checking the seams’ resistance.
Marking and cutting the leather.
A preview of the final look.
Checking stiches’ size and distance on the reverse side.
On this entry of the “Size and Fit” series I’ll focus on one of the most iconic and essential pieces on any wardrobe (women’s and men’s alike). Denim has been around for ever and has been continuously evolving to adapt to fashion’s standards and trends. To quickly sum up its history and give you a tour of its endeavours up until now, here are some dates to remind:
- 1600: Production of the first jean-like pants designed for the Italian Navy (even then italians were trendsetters);
- 1870: Levi Strauss presents his first pair of jeans to the market;
- 1970: Bell-bottoms become a staple of the hippie culture;
- 1980: Calvin Klein introduces the concept of designer denim;
- 1990: Hip hop culture leads the way to baggy, oversized jeans;
- 2000: Return to the classic original shape. The market’s flooded with jeans in all kinds of washes and cuts.
There’s so much to denim that you’ll be able find encyclopedias on the subject, thoroughly examinining every little aspect of this timeless piece. Without getting into much detail, I do believe a brief explanation of the different cuts and terms is in order:
- Bootcut: described as a jean with a tappered leg up to the knee, that slightly widens to accommodate a boot;
-Relaxed/Loose Fit: these wide fitting jeans are quite loose on the leg and sport larger and longer back pockets. They are associated with a casual look and do not flatter your body shape in any way;
(Levi’s Engineered Jeans - I have to thank my friend Miguel for digging these out of his closet and letting me take some pics).
- Straight cut: the jean’s leg width is the same all the way up to the ankle. This is the most classic cut of all;
The straight cut: notice the extra fabric which allows for a comfortable feel and constant leg width. Jacket by Lacoste, crewneck tee by Levi’s, jeans by Osklen and loafers by Lottusse.
- Slim Fit: a fitted version of the straight cut, which adapts to your leg and defines your silhouette. These are the most up to date option on this list;
My favourite pair: v-neck sweater by DKNY, crewneck tee by Levi’s, belt by Purificacion Garcia, jeans by Levi’s (511 slim), loafers by Lottusse, watch by Rolex (GMT Master II) and sunglasses by Rayban (New Wayfarer).
- Skinny: once the prized outfit of 80’s rock stars, this skin tight model made of a combination of cotton and elastane has experienced a noticeable comeback in recent years, mostly thanks to Swedish brands such as Cheap Monday;
A skinny alternative: shirt by Osklen, belt by Gap, jeans by Levi’s (519 skinny) and plimsoles by Paul Smith.
Simply put, the ones you should be aiming for are the straight leg and slim fit models, with a marked preference for the latter. Why? Because they are the most versatile and timeless of the whole bunch: you’ll be able to dress them up or down according to the situation.
Finding the perfect pair of jeans may be a wearisome task that requires you to spend considerable time going from one store to the next, while trying on different models and choosing which fits best. So, it’s all the more satisfying to finish your nerve-wrecking quest knowing which model of which brand is your match (for me it’s the Levi’s 511 slim, as you’ve noticed by now). Once you do, stick to it: for variety get the same model in a different wash or fabric and you’re all set.
When you’re out shopping, a rule of thumb for jeans is: the simpler the better - avoid over the top designs (extremely low crotch, twisted seams, etc.), too many pockets or zippers and especially embroided embellishments (not even women should wear these). Opt for classic cuts in darker colors as they look more sophisticated and avoid acid washes and factory aged/ripped jeans. After all one of the greatest pleasures for a denim lover is to be able to achieve the perfectly worn-in pair (try wearing the same ones for 6 months in a row).
A final word of advice is to take your newly adquired denim to the tailor: you’ll notice how most options available at stores are either too long on your legs or too loose on your waist. It’s rare to find a pair that fits impeccably on both places so just have them hemmed or “taken in” accordingly to ensure a perfect fit.
Enjoy your shopping and keep an eye out for upcoming posts!
Last week marked the end of New York Fashion Week. Post-show, the editors, buyers and bloggers went to work to define and list the trends, hoping we’ll follow along. But for many of us, the sheer shirts of Spring ‘11 were are about as realistic for our wardrobes as a meat dress. Instead, we looked outside of Lincoln Center at the street style of individuals, hoping to find the inspiration to zig when everyone else is zagging. This week’s post celebrates the path less … followed, with counterpoints on everything from current trends to blogger compensation and competition.
I have a very strong connection to my place…it’s where I can get away from the drudgery of the everyday life and let my mind drift away to whatever makes me click at a particular moment. I love arriving home on a harsh, cold winter day when it’s pouring outside and just seat back and relax, especially if surrounded by a bunch of my closest friends…I love having people over to dinner parties and movie nights, as much as I praise some time alone to enjoy my haven…So, it’s only natural that I try to make it the cosiest, most comfortable and enjoyable, whilst reflecting my (and my girlfriend’s) personal taste. One of the things that makes all the difference and I most often notice missing from my friends’ (especially the bachelors) homes is flowers or plants. Making your house “greener” is not only achieved by installing the latest and most efficient appliances or lightbulbs; make room for a couple of plants and you’ll see the difference instantly, it adds personality and a whole new life to the room.
One of the most beautiful additions you can have is definitely a Bonsai. These trees exude mysticism and give a unique feel to wherever you place them. I’ve always been a sucker for them, so I was blown away when last weekend (while strolling around Miguel Bombarda St. during the monthly events) I got a chance to visit Arbole Bonsai. The company’s showroom is located in CCB (Bombarda’s Shopping Center), and it will make you feel 100% zen…Besides gazing at the amazing Bonsai trees, you’ll be able to sit back and relax next to a fountain (another one of their products) while enjoying the placid environment they’ve put together. Afterwards, you’ll face the daunting task of deciding which one to bring home with you as they’re all stunning. Remember that a Bonsai is no ordinary tree (nor is its price tag) and needs attention and commitment; however, when you learn to take care of it properly it can be very therapeutic and relaxing; if you’re too lazy, just take your tree to Arbole and they’ll take good care of it. They also offer a variety of services and activities aimed at companies and people of all ages, all of which are listed on their website. Visit their showroom and bring home a piece of nature!
In the last couple of years we’ve been experiencing a comeback of all things sartorial. Tailors and the whole bespoking/made to measure concept have become popular once again (kudos for those who have always embraced it), as have some forgotten trends and accessories. One such accessory is the bow tie: this piece of neckwear is easily one of the most overlooked and underrated when it comes to menswear. Putting my love for it aside, I must admit that the bow tie is not for the faint of heart. When you wear one, you walk around with more than a simple item; you carry all its historical and social background. The origins of the bow tie are uncertain, dating back to original appearance of the Cravat worn by Croatian Soldiers in the 17th century, as a means to fasten their shirts. Later on, it was introduced to the French upper classes and became a mainstream fashion item during the 18th and 19th centuries, mainly worn by successful men and dandies. As such, the bow tie may come across as affected or even arrogant, a way to show that you are above other peers and don’t really care about what they think; on the other hand, some may find you ridiculous, childish or eccentric. So, as you see, pulling it off is no easy task…
I do agree with one aspect of those perceptions which is not to give much importance to third parties’ opinions: you like it? want to wear it? Then by all means do. The thing is, as I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, that an individual sense of style may clash with social conventions as we live in a society, so bear in mind that you are prone to disapproving looks and remarks. Ignoring them however, is easier said than done, especially if you live in fashion-repressed cities (it’s definitely easier to sport a bow tie in Milan or NYC than anywhere in Portugal).
That being said, I fully encourage you to wear one if you fancy it and here are a few tips to make it easier to pull off:
- Break it down: since the bow tie alone will make you all put together, I would advise against “over dressing”. Give it a more relaxed feel by pairing it with casual pieces, like slim fitting jeans, loafers or sneakers and an oxford shirt;
Casual done right - boat shoes, rolled up jeans, white shirt, patterned bow and a yellow rain slicker (photo from Unabashedly Prep).
- Pattern: for starters, try to find a balance between the shirt and the bow. If you decide to go with a striped or checked shirt, choose a solid colored bow and vice versa, pair patterned bows with solid shirts. “Advanced users” can have fun by trying to mix different patterns;
Above: 1- keeping it simple: white shirt by Paul Smith + checked bow tie from Coisas d’Homem; 2 - taking it up a notch: striped shirt with contrasting collar and patterned bow tie (photo from Pierrepont Hicks).
- Fabric: satin bow ties are more formal than their cotton/wool counterparts. The latter are easier to pair with your everyday attire;
Above: Cotton gives it a more relaxed feel - both items from Coisas d’Homem.
- Confidence: is key to make the whole look work. You’re wearing an iconic Go to Hell item, so why not embrace the attitude? (more on Go to Hell in a future post);
One other thing to consider is the type of bow tie: clip on or self tie? Real prepsters and bow aficionados will tell you that there is no option but the self tie version: this is true to some extent as it will enable you to add a personal touch and nonchalance to the knot. For beginners, the clip on is much more practical and has been supported recently by designers such as Band of Outsiders’ Scott Sternberg. If you go for the self tie version, expect a steep learning curve while getting the hang of how to tie it, but to make things easier here’s a video from David Hart:
As temperature starts to drop, the need for warmer garments arises leading you to go hunting for your stored winter clothes. The thing is, these first days of Fall aren’t cold enough for those heavy jackets or cable knit sweaters, nor hot enough to go out with just a shirt or polo on. Thus you need to find something in between and that’s where the vest comes in…
This is one of the most versatile pieces you can add to your collection as it will provide comfort in this mild weather and later on you can simply use it as a layering piece under a topcoat, peacoat or trench. Now, I’m not talking about the traditional old man saggy safari jacket (which can be pulled off if done properly and if you have it tailored), but an upgraded version of the item. You can find them in all sort of colors, lengths and materials, depending on the use you’re planning on giving it. Usually, quilted/stuffed vests are meant to be wore as outerwear and are a bit longer than models that resemble vests found in three-piece suits, which make for better layering alternatives and can still keep you warm (I’m on the look for one in tweed). Here are some options to take into account:
As Summer draws to an end (and coincidently so does my parfum), I’ve been feeling an urge to upgrade my fresh citrus fragance (Burberrys) to something more adequate for the cold and gloomy months ahead. For Fall and Winter my choice lies upon an essence of sturdier character and “body”, incorporating hints of tobacco, wood, liqueur and spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, etc.), giving it a warmer feel to face the harsh Winter days. Even if I haven’t decided which one to adquire yet, one thing I know for sure: I want something unique, a one of a kind aroma that will allow me to differ from the rest of the pack (how many times a night do you smell Davidoff when going out?).
When looking for the holy grail of fragances you are presented with a variety of options:
- Opt for natural fragances found at herbal boutiques, which are 100% natural and made from fruit and roots essences (figg, bergamot…);
- Try handmade essences usually associated with cultural ethnic backgrounds, the likes of those found at Bazaars or souks in Morocco or India;
- Look for boutiques specialized in body fragances and colognes, sure to provide you with alternative quality products at affordable prices;
- Splurge - high end brands offer exquisite fragances at exclusive boutiques, some of which are mixed and blended at the time of purchase. This kind of exclusivity can cost somewhere between 200€ and 500€;
The trick is finding something you feel like it’s a part of you and endowes you with a sense of well being, comfort and confidence. A man’s scent is one of his most personal traits and should reflect his identity, thus being chosen by him alone (that’s one of the reasons I restrain for offering parfums as gifts and seldomly use those offered to me). To emphasize this personal side of fragances, the same parfum may have a slightly different odor when used by different men, as skin properties have an influence.
I’ve found a few options that may be great alternatives to the mainstream products sold at body and beauty shops such as Sephora and that won’t leave you on the verge of bankruptcy (I haven’t tried them all yet though):
Comme des Garçons Wonderwood at Por Vocação(Madagascan pepper, bergamot, Somalian incense, nutmeg, Cristalon, Cashmeran, guaiac wood, cedarwood, caraway seeds, Javanol, sandalwood, vetiver, oud).
Diptyque Eau Duelle at Por Vocação(A narrow escapade between gentleness and character, feminity and virility, white vanilla and black frankincense).
Calé Fraganze D’Autore at Wrong Weather(Olfactory family: Musky Citrus; Head notes: Grapefruit, Lemon, Rum; Middle notes: Acacia, Magnolia, Note of Pinã Colada; Bottom notes: Vetiver, White Musk, Green Tea).
D.R. Harris Marlborough Cologne at Wrong Weather(a subtle blend of woods including cedar and sandalwood).
Cedar Eau de Parfum at L’occitane(Head Notes: Grapefruit, Wood sap; Heart Notes: Cumin, Tobacco leaves; Base Notes: Cedar, Tonka Bean).
Thé Bergamote at L’occitane(Black tea leaves, bergamot, mandarin and grapefruit light up the sparkling nature of bergamot, heightened by a dash of cardamom, while the woody notes prolong the intensity of tea, creating an original trail of scent that is rich in contrasts).
Tom Ford Tuscan Leather at Harrods (Saffron, Raspberry and Thyme open to Olibanum and Night Blooming Jasmine. Leather, Black suede and Amberwood add an intricate richness).
On the first post I covered buffing and all the elements that should comprise an adequate shoe care kit. Truth be told, buffing will keep your shoes looking like a million bucks but it isn’t enough to prolong their lifetime. Like the rest of your body, feet also release moisture and sweat throughout the day, which is ultimately absorved by the leather in your shoes. Eventually some of that moisture evaporates, but not entirely, leaving your footwear wrinkled and off their original shape. Last but not the least, retained moisture is responsible for smelly shoes as it leads to the appearance of sweat-eating bacteria.
As you can imagine, the current trend of going sockless just makes it all worse, since there is no fabric between your skin and the leather to absorb the sweat. Thus, you need to know how to tackle this issue. I’ve heard about all kinds of tricks to eliminate moisture: the traditional baby powder (more appropriate for sneakers), shoe deodorant sprays and even placing them in the freezer (the cold kills the bacteria). Sneakers aside, the best solution available for your leather kicks is Cedar Shoe Trees: these wooden accessories are shaped like a foot and come in a variety of models and size/width combinations. I recommend you go for the split-toe model as it adapts better to the shape of the shoe than the standard model. You are sure to find several brands, but Woodlore has been pointed as the place to go as they have been providing all kinds of cedar made products for your wardrobe since 1987 (take a look at their hangers).
The result is amazing…the moment you place them into the shoe you’ll immediately notice how it stretches to assume the original position, completely wrinkle-free. Also the aromatic cedar will fully absorb the moisture and leave a fresh fragance. This will enable your footwear to look perfect and stay healthy throughout their (extended) lifetime. For best results avoid wearing the same pair of shoes many days in a row, rotate your wearing and leave them to rest with the shoe trees in.
This may very well be some of the best 30€ you’ll ever spend. Give it a try!
I’ve been overwhelmed by the quality of the submissions and I hope you’ll enjoy reading these as much as I have. This week the issue of workwear is tackled whether as a fashion blogger you’re heading to Fashion Week or you’re not sure how to translate your everyday style to the office. The latter is a dilemma I’m often confronted with when dressing for work. Through the links I have also gleefully discovered some wonderful designers to dreamily sigh over the work of; these garments would most definitely fit into my wardrobe perfectly, be it in the smart section or the purely frivolous one.
A La Modest Reintroducing the morality within green ethical fashion
Bachman’s Sparrow What better way to greet the new season than a beautiful, one-of-a-kind statement necklace?
I’m always on the look for interesting brands or stores able to provide quality items marked by great construction and fit. On my never-ending quest, I come across several brands which I share with all of you: many of them are considered luxury labels, but price and reputation alone do not assure quality. Learning how to spot those features in every item you try on is key, as it enables you to find the best value for your money.
One of the things I’ve been enjoying the most since I started this blog, is to wander the streets of downtown Porto, carefully looking for local stores. The findings are outstanding as the city is famous for its tailors and fabric stores. So it comes to no surprise that several brands and manufacturers are choosing to open business here.
One of my latest findings was Atelier des Createurs, a semi-industrial tailoring/bespoking establishment, located in Rua José Falcão in the city centre. A project of two entrepeneurs (one French, the other Spanish), this amazing three-storey building is the workplace of several local craftsmen and women (seamstresses, tailors, etc.). The sheer scale and beauty of the architecture (an amazing work of rehabilitation) will make your jaw drop. The building is organized as follows:
- Ground Floor: as soon as you enter a massive stairway greets you; a door on the right gives access to the fabric storeroom, staff facilities and the “cutting room” where computer controlled machinery applies the desired cut for each of the nearly 200 pieces that go into making a suit. A once handmade process is now optimized through the use of technology, but still requires the art of skilled artisans on occasion;
- First Floor: here you’ll find the administration offices and an amazing room with around 40 professionals fully committed to providing top notch suits, through a sequential manufacturing process;
- Second Floor: a room entirely dedicated to suit pants awaits you, along with the area where finishing touches are added: hand sewn buttons and steaming and pressing of suits;
- Top Floor: this floor houses the showroom where you’ll be able to see all available fabrics for your suit, as well as a few finished models to give you an idea of what to expect. Also, you can try on the so called “canvas” which are pre-finished models (with all the seams and stitched parts), aimed at giving you a sense of fit and size. One of the things that absolutely blew me away was their collection of antique books and magazines, the likes of Adam Chemisier and Esquire, dating as old as 1940. Next to the showroom lies a fitting room and a private space where clients can try on their suits and express their opinion to tailors, in order to have them altered accordingly;
The whole establishment transpires professionalism and after trying their “canvas” and getting a feel of some final products, I can attest to their quality: they’ve got themselves a new client. An average price tag of 600€ seems appropriate when talking about a fully customized bespoke suit, especially when compared to other options out there. I’m a sucker for the art of bespoking and strongly recommend you give it a try. Drop by their atelier and check their blog here!
The ground floor: fabric storeroom, cutting room and staff lounge.
The sewing room on the first floor.
Second Floor: the areas dedicated to suit pants and steaming.
Top floor: the showroom, book collection, the “canvas” suit jackets and a few fabric samples.
Apple has become the go to company when it comes to dishing out products that get everyone drooling about. Be it the Ipod, Iphone, desktop or laptop computers, the truth is the exceptional design combined with easy to use functionality, justifies the hype surrounding all their products. It is common to spot people on the street listening to their Ipods, going on and about their daily tasks hopefully made more bearable by whatever tune is playing.
Recently, Apple introduced the IPAD to the market and despite the mixed reviews, it has become the ultimate electronic gadjet to purchase. Professional and personal use aside, I have to admit it looks damn good and makes for a great addition to any outfit. If you have been checking street fashion photos by The Sartorialist or Tommy Ton, you know what I’m talking about (Milanese men have incorporated it in their attire). Its influence on current fashion has reach such status that many high end brands wanted in on the IPADmania and are now offering several accessories, mainly cases. More than protecting your investment, these cases are aimed at providing it with an unique look and most of them go way beyond your average plastic case. Offers range from canvas and fine wool, to tweed and even exquisite leathers such as crocodile or ostridge.
If you happen to have an extra 1000€ sitting around (for the IPAD + acessories, more if you consider a nice case), and are into gadjets, by all means grab one, dress up and sport it proudly!
For the past week I’ve been listening to Cee-Lo Green’s fantastic send-off, F@#* You, and little else. At the same time I’ve been reading a lot of the hand-wringing in the press about bloggers and whatever are we going to do about them, along with our responses both here and on our blogs. And the two have combined in my head to form a single determination - bloggers need more swagger. I don’t mean anger, of the you-don’t-respect-us variety, or apologetics, of the we-are-as-legitimate-as-other-media variety. I mean swagger, the kind of swagger that comes from doing something well and knowing you’re good at it. So whatever other themes might knit together this week’s links, they all share that important characteristic - swagger. Step up to the plate, knock it out of the park.
For the last year or so, I’ve been experiencing a growing passion for high quality handcrafted men’s shoes. I have always been passionate about my footwear, even when I was younger and my repertoire consisted mainly of sneakers and high tops. I still keep and sport them on occasion, but as my personal style mutated and evolved into what it is today, I’m more and more drawn to proper leather shoes of all sorts. I believe this love for shoes was set off by the very first (exquisite) pair I bought: dark brown oxfords by Sir Paul Smith (what a leap from Adidas sneakers).
As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, shoes are an investment that can last you for decades if properly taken cared, a worthy investment according to “fashion math” since the expensive price tag will pay for itself considering the amount of times you’ll wear them in 10 or so years (plus what you save by not having to buy other pairs). Driven by a habit of maintaining my belongings in mint condition (I do it with everything, not just clothes) and the fact that my shoe collection is becoming somewhat respectable, I decided to invest in a shoe care kit. Well, mine isn’t actually a kit, I purchased each item separately and built my own, but you can find them ready to use in a variety of places. The basic components you should look for are:
- Shoe Horn (doesn’t care for your shoes, but a necessity nonetheless);
- Wax/Shoe Lotion (the essential)
- Application Brushes (to properly apply the wax/lotion)
- Horsehair Buffing Brushes (to make them shine)
- Suede Brush (specially designed for suede shoes)
- Small brush to clean the dirt that accumulates in the edge of the sole (an old toothbrush will do the trick)
On top of these you should add newspaper. This is crucial not to make a mess of your house; you don’t want shoe wax on your floor, carpet, sofa, etc. Before the whole process, make sure to spread the paper sheets across the floor to prepare a bedding for your buffed shoes. Instead of explaining step by step, I’ll leave it to the fine gents over at Allen Edmonds to show you how to do it:
You should face shoe polishing as a relaxing ritual: I do it once a week while watching my favourite shows on TV. Give it a try!
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.