Time to Upgrade to a Men’s Watch

Whether you just finished college, recently got hitched, or just celebrated your Bar Mitzvah, you are now officially a man. While your $20 Timex Ironman has been reliable, it is past time to retire it.

You know the watch I’m talking about…the one you got from your Aunt on your eight birthday; the one with twelve different features (most of which you never used).

You’ve spent five times the original cost of the watch on battery replacements, and the nylon band, well, it smells pretty rank. Pay attention, because these will be the deciding factors while trying to decide which men’s watch to buy.

Is it Practical?

First and foremost, purchase a watch that is practical. It sounds like I’m joking, but I’m not. When contemplating the complexities of purchasing a watch, consider both your lifestyle and the usefulness of the watch. Below is a watch that I think you will find—umm, rather useless.

Black Movado watch leather

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New Year’s Resolutions: Tools to Up Your Fashion Game in 2014

wingtip

The dawn of a New Year has a habit of shedding light on those parts of ourselves that we’d like to tweak and change. “A New Year, a new you:” a common mantra in support of creating and going after attainable New Year’s resolutions. Are you looking to dress the part of a new and improved version of yourself?

I am going to give you some tips on developing your style for the workplace without radically altering your look that will make keeping your New Year’s Resolution simple. The name of the game is accessorizing. Most men balk at the term, but accessories are one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to really polish off your style, and I know of a few essentials that you’ll be glad to have stowed in your arsenal.

Shoes

Surprisingly enough, shoes tend to be one of the first things women notice about a man. If you’re shuffling around in a beat up or scuffed pair of department store kickers, you’re drawing far too much negative attention to yourself. When it comes to dress shoes, stick to natural colors and patterns – you can’t go wrong with plain, laced up leather shoes in black, brown, or cordovan (burgundy). I prefer shoes without buckles, because I feel buckles limit the versatility of the shoe. To add some flare I like wing tips: think Mad Men style. High quality shoes do not necessarily have to be expensive. Consider shopping at places like Nordstrom Rack for great deals on designer shoes such as Johnston and Murphy Wingtip Oxfords for around $150.

Watches

The style of a man’s timepiece gives a brief but in-depth look at his personality, and a good watch makes a fine first impression. Trust me; watches are the one subtle accessory that will always get noticed. Not to mention, whereas other accessories will wear out and require replacing over time, a real high quality wristwatch will serve dutifully for a lifetime, after which it can be passed on as an heirloom. Even if you can’t afford to drop a few G’s on a timepiece, a watch at an entry level price will still make a great statement in the workplace.

A professional-looking watch should be understated and classic. I like watches where the dial matches the wrist band, but have seen many beautiful pieces with a leather strap and silver/stainless dial. It all comes down to personal preference. As a rule of thumb, stay away from brightly colored faces and straps – unless they are refined, elegant, and match your suit well. And unless you are in a high up executive position with a large company, a wristwatch in solid gold will make you look ridiculous. Stick to stainless steel and silver; rose gold for more casual work environments, and classic leathers.

While it is true that some entry-level watches from brands like Omega can cost upwards of $2,000, a good quality watch like Stuhrling from ShopHQ, will suit your purposes well and set you back only a few hundred dollars. A price frame between $300 and $1,000 usually implies that the pieces are mass-produced, but that’s not to say that they aren’t well made. In general, a watch made in Switzerland, Japan, or the USA can be trusted to be of higher quality and good value.

Tie

There are many distinct ways to wear a tie – numerous tie variations, knots, sizes, and diverse situations in which a tie could be worn – that giving general tie advice is the best course of action here. First, make sure you are able to tie multiple knots, from half Windsor to Full Windsor to a Shelby knot. The best way to learn is have someone who knows teach you, or watch YouTube videos and practice. A few general guidelines for dressing with a tie at the office:

1) Do not wear loud colored ties to work or, more importantly, a job interview, and stay away from bright reds exclusively.
a. Bright, obnoxious ties in general are just annoying; it is better to wear a subtle tie that will get you taken seriously.
2) Do not wear novelty ties. Ever.
3) Ties should fall to just above the beltline, no shorter or further.
4) The tie should not match the shirt’s color exactly. Experiment with contrasting colors that go well together, like black and white, or patterned button-up where the tie’s color can be found in the shirt’s details.

As with other accessories, creating a stylish wardrobe shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. In reality, a $200 Armani tie will not function better than a $50 Donald Trump tie from Macy’s. I have had great luck in scoring some really nice ties from thrift stores for under $5!

Pocket Squares

Pocket squares aren’t for everyone, but maybe that is because not everyone is capable of pulling them off. Your pocket square should carry a color from either your shirt or tie, but not both. As with a neck tie, there are multiple ways to fold the fabric, including the Straight Fold, One Corner Fold, and Puff Fold, all of which are incredibly straightforward and can be demonstrated on Youtube. Again, cost hardly depicts the quality of a pocket square; go for one that is a stunning match to your suit, not one that boasts a designer label. If you really want to save money, you can even try making your own. This way, you get to select the fabric that best complements your suit shirt or tie.

Fountain Pen

My personal favorite accessory is one that can really set you apart from the crowd: a good fountain pen. Nearly every time I bust out my pen to sign a receipt or write a note, I get compliments and questions. It is a great conversation starter, especially as most people have never even seen a fountain pen! Like watches, fountain pens can be very pricey – some Mont Blanc fountain pens cost over $3,000, and fine heirloom quality pens are abundant around a price point of $500-1,000. Most pens in the $500 and up price range will have at least a 14K gold nib; that being said, an impressive-looking pen with a stainless steel nib, like the Cross brand at Office Depot, can be had for as low as $50 at most office supply stores. Though stainless steel nibs do not write as well as gold nibs, the stainless steel nib does write much better than an everyday roller ball or gel pen.

Take your look to a new level this year by adding some subtle accessories that will set you apart in the workforce and show a little bit more of your personality. Use these guidelines as a starting point as you develop your own tastes and preferences. If you have suggestions on where to get high quality pieces or if you know of lesser known brands, leave a comment!

  

adidas unveils “BIG Logo” uniforms

If you’re looking for cool NBA-themed gifts for the holidays or some new gear for yourself, check out these new “BIG Logo” uniforms unveiled by adidas and the NBA that will be worn by all 10 teams playing on the Christmas Day games. The “BIG Logo” Holiday Collection incorporates short-sleeve jerseys featuring oversized team logos in a reflective chrome color scheme on the chest as well as holiday-inspired warm-up jackets and shooting shirts and are available for purchase NBAStore.com. I suspect plenty of NBA fans would love to get this as a gift and then see players wearing them on Christmas day so this looks like a great promotional idea.

Check out the slideshow above as Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, Harrison Barnes and Iman Shumpert show off the new jerseys. Also, keep an eye out for the new TV spot below showcasing the new uniforms.

Here’s the NBA game schedule on ESPN and ABC channels:

12 p.m. – Chicago Bulls at Brooklyn Nets
2:30 p.m. – Oklahoma City Thunder at New York Knicks
5 p.m. – Miami Heat at Los Angeles Lakers
8 p.m. – Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs
10:30 p.m. – L.A. Clippers at Golden State Warriors

  

Casual Shoes from Oliberté

Oliberté_Narivo Brown Yellow Pullup 06-03-01M-1623

Oliberté was founded in 2009 “with the concept of building premium outdoor leather shoes by quality crafts people resulting in creating sustainable jobs.” This idea is very simple and powerful: Trade not aid. Check out the website and you’ll see the wide variety of casual shoes and other leather products available from this brand made in Ethiopia.

They sent us a pair of the Narivo in Brown-Yellow Pullup casual men’s loafer to try out and we were very impressed with the quality and craftsmanship. The brown shoe is pictured above and you can see that it would be perfect with jeans or slacks and for all sorts of casual settings. The high quality leather is very soft, and the classic design also has a modern twist with the lighter colored soles. This pair comes in grey, tan and green as well.

Here are the specs for this pair that retails for $130:

• Traditional stitch-down stitching around base
• Premium brown/yellow pullup leather upper
• 100% goat leather dark brown lining
• Vegetable tanned leather midsole
• Natural crepe rubber outsole with wedge
• 3mm dark brown round leather cord laces

If you browse the website you’ll also see a wide variety of beautiful leather bags as well. When it comes to quality and design, we’re confident you’ll be happy with products from Oliberté, and with Father’s Day coming up soon, you can find some excellent gift ideas as well.

  

Tommy Bahama hybrid swim trunks

tommy bahama hybrid short

The weather is warming up and summer is around the corner, so it’s definitely time to start shopping for a new pair of swim trunks. Our friends at Tommy Bahama sent us a stylish and unique pair with the Hybrid of Paradise 11″ Swim Trunks.

They’re unique because you can wear them as swim trunks or regular shorts. They look like a cross between regular clothe shorts and a bathing suit, but the cotton/polyester blended material is very comfortable while also being appropriate for the water. All of the interior pockets are mesh like you would find in a bathing suit, but it has the standard external pockets you would expect from a pair of cargo shorts. The only surprise is that it doesn’t have the mesh underwear portion you would expect from a bathing suit, so that makes them look even more like shorts along with the zipper in the front.

The shorts also come in a wide variety of colors. We liked the royal blue pair we had with the yellow logo on the side. With the quick dry fabric these shorts are perfect for boating and beach outings, particularly when you’ll be going back and forth between the water and the bar!

Check out Tommy Bahama for this hybrid option along with a wide variety of tradition swimwear, along with newer styles that have a shorter inseam as well. And with Father’s Day around the corner these and other items can offer great gift ideas as well.

  

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