Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What I'm Wearing Today

Herringbone suit, Blue striped shirt & green knitted tie.

My accessories are my stamp collector's suspenders, yellow italian silk pocket square, and my monogrammed silk pocket square. The monogrammed square is for use and the yellow silk is for show.

Now I could've gone with my red tartan light weight wool tie for a spring playful look. Everything still looks well together.
Close up of the ties in the combo.

The two ties are as different yet either could be inserted into this get up with out causing any other alterations to the outfit. As a general rule, I purchase my items, especially accessories, so that they can match most of my wardrobe.

Friday, March 20, 2009

J. Herbin Ink Review

Fountain pens are one of my interests/eccentricities and this post is a dedication to it.

Rhodia staple bound graph pad, Pelikan m250 black and blue new style, Lamy Flame,& a ????? on top of my pen case.

Yes, on the left that is the Rhodia web notebook. Sweet, no.?

Mrs. Karen Doherty, VP of Marketing at Exaclair, sent me some J. Herbin inks to review. In the package she sent me Orange Indien and Diabolo Menthe, an orange and a green ink. Yup, you guessed it, St. Patrick's Day colors. I was supposed to post this on the day of that celebration sadly my camera that can shoot macro was missing. Now that I've found it, let us get down to business. Oh! She also sent me a Rhodia graph pad to do the review with.

2 boxes of Orange Indien untouched. Okay 1 was opened.

First Thoughts: Let's us begin, initially my thoughts are that the colors are fun inks. Allow me to clarify, there are some inks that are dark enough for business use, conservative enough for formal correspondence, and then there are the fun inks for personal and creative use. Diabolo Menthe and Orange Indien are in the last camp. Orange Indien is a bright orange color that shades marvelously. I like it so much I have 2 bottles of my own, 1 was provided for this review for a total of 3 bottles. I make sure I keep this color stocked up. Diabolo Menthe is a very light, pastel, aqua green color. At first it is extremely pale, then it dries a little darker. I found this color to be very feminine and Spring like, the season not the device.

Testing: In order to get a decent idea of the ink we must test it so, the tests I performed were 4 fold:
  1. Dry Time
  2. Swab test with a q-tip (cotton swab)
  3. Writing Sample: it gives a visual of the ink. I used a different pen with a different nib width to give some comparison
  4. Bleed Through: flip the page and see if the the ink bleeds through or visible in the back.

1 Dry Time Test:

  1. Diabolo Menthe = Under 25 seconds
  2. Orange Indien = 35 seconds
  3. Control (Noodler's Red-Black) = 35 seconds
The verdict is use blotting paper if your a lefty or in a rush. Otherwise take your time most wont smear much past 15 seconds.

2 Swab Test: (see photos above)
  1. Diabolo Menthe = Dramatic color variation as more swipes occur and the shading intensifies.
  2. Orange Indien = Dramatic Color variation as more swipes occur and the brilliance of the orange intensifies. Shading is more pronounce but occurs less.
  3. Control (Noodler's Red-Black) = Darkens with more swipes. Shading decreases because the black over powers the red.
The verdict if you love using these colors prepare for more variation. This suggests that wetter and broader nibs should produce more color variation and shading if you like that sort of thing. The real world test of this occurs when I do the writing sample test so, stay tuned and keep reading.

3 Writing Sample Test: performed with my Pelikan m250 with a BB nib. Warning; this test is really subjective

  1. Diabolo Menthe: is a very thin ink which surprisingly, for the short time it was in my pen as I was writing with it, had very little nib creep. It wrote wetter than most inks in my Pelikan and flowed easily. It is a little darker when writing than with the medium nibbed Lamy Safari. As suggested by the swab test, Diabolo Menthe varied more and had excellent shading due the wide nib. Overall it looked brilliant.
  2. Orange Indien: is a mildly thin ink and has nib creep, both nibs, the Lamy Safari M and the Pelikan m250 BB, displayed this. You are going to want to be careful with this ink. Orange Indien performed well just like predicted and it shaded dramatically. The color while darker is more brilliant with a double broad nib in the Pelikan m250.
  3. Control: Sorry I didn't do it. Although, it does hold true to the swab test results like the other inks.
The verdict, not compatible with this test.

4 Bleed Through Test: done with a Rhodia stapled, small, grid pad

  1. Diabolo Menthe: Barely visible but present
  2. Orange Indien: Visible but very lightly
  3. Control (Noodler's Red-Black): More visible than the Orange Indien because of its darker pigment but not by very much.
The verdict is very little bleed through even in the Pelikan m250 BB pen. The amount that did bleed through is negligible. Only the most sensitive persons would have a hard time writing on both sides of the paper.

Summary of Analysis
  • Dry Time = 25secs. for Diabolo & 35 secs. for the Orange.
  • Swab Test = Dynamic Variation & Increased Shading for both
  • Writing Sample = Diabolo Menthe is thin and has some nib creep. Orange Indien is moderately thin and has no nib creep. They both do not smell bad.
  • Bleed Through = both are negligible in both a double broad and thin nib.
Limitations of my Analysis
  • Not an exhaustive testing method
  • No real control
  • No experiment ran
  • Some use of subjective tests
  • Review materials were provide by the producer of the reviewed goods
  • Only 2 pens were used to test the inks
Last Thoughts: I would purchase both inks again. As mentioned before, Orange Indien is my current favorite & I am constantly taking notes and writing in my journal with it. Diabolo Menthe would be an ink I never would think to buy; but if given would fall in love with. The color is very pale when written with thin nibs so, I will use the ink with broad nibs, stubs, italics, and flex nibs.

Wow!!! How fun was that! It could only be more fun if I added some graphs or charts. Well, there is always next time. Good night well, morning because it is passed midnight.

*Disclosure: I was provided the materials to test using my own pens.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Am I biased?


In case you were wondering, the answer is a resounding no. Of course I am biased, this entire blog is my opinion, what did you think? The whole point is to give my opinion!

I started this blog to share my loves, interests, and eccentricities with others. Occasionally, I will endorse a product or mention sources for some items. I am in no way, shape, form, or fashion affiliated with the makers, manufacturers, distributors, or purveyors unless mentioned. I will warn you if I have been supplied with materials to review; this will be done at the end of the post in bold and during the body of the post in normal text.

Supplying me with materials does not guarantee a favorable review or an endorsement. Still, if you are willing and open to do so, send me an email.

So, we are clear now and can continue in our relationship together with clear and open minds.

The 3 Most Versatile Ties I Own.

My three most versatile ties. Save the red one, they can be worn with everything I own. The entire rainbow and hues in between can be worn with the blue Churchill dot ties. Only a few colors don't work with the red spotted tie. For example, yellow and purple are horrible with it.

How to pull it off:
  • Get dressed except for your tie.
  • Throw on one of the Churchill patterned ties.
  • Get in front of a mirror and make sure the combination of shirt, tie, and jacket harmonize.
  • Check to see that you don't clash with your skin tone.
  • Finally, smile, this is the easiest type of tie to wear.
Where to get them from:
  • Ebay
  • Bowties.com: R. Hanauer makes them in a variety of colors by hand in the US.
  • Drakes of London: Drakes of London is an English tie and pocket square maker; they specialize in formal patterns like this one. Everything is handmade in England from some of the best silks.
  • Thrift shops or Second hand stores: This pattern in those two colors is one of the easiest patterns to find, thanks to Winston Churchill.
  • $0=<>
  1. Ebay under $25 but typically $3 - $5.
  2. Bowties.com between $45 - $65
  3. Drakes of London $120 + shipping from London.
  4. Thrift/ Second Hand stores between $0.25 - $5.
My ties (starting from the left):
  1. Navy Churchill patterned Chaps tie: $6 Burlington Coat Factory
  2. Navy Churchill patterned R. Hanauer bowtie: $50 made to order by R. Hanauer all it took was a 5 minute call.
  3. Red Churchill patterned Vintage ??? tie: $7 purchased in a lot of 6 bowties on ebay for $42 shipped.
*Note: I love charts, bullet points, graphs, and all sorts of mathematical visuals. I plan on including them as much as possible.

What I'm Wearing Today

Jacket: A common American style blazer, single breasted with patch pockets and brass buttons. It is a hand me down from my God father's best friend. Price = $0
Shirt: White button down shirt made from a light fabric, I think it's poplin. Polo from some North GA outlet(Tanger Mall maybe). Price = $5 on clearance rack with a missing button.

Pants: Linen pants in a very light colored khaki, almost cream color. It was thrifted as part of a suit. The jacket has a messed up shoulder so, it is no longer being worn.

Tie: I Zingari Football Club tie. The colors are gold, black, and red; the colors of my country minus white. It is made for Dege & Skinner, the famous Savile Row military tailors, not sure by who. I bought it from an AskAndy club member. Price = $9.

Pocket Square: 100% silk, hand rolled, 4 color(red, purple, maroon, and pink) and is made for Paul Stuart by ????. I received a College Discount from my alterations tailors, Hong Kong Tailors. Price = $28.

Socks: 50% silk and 50%Cotton from George at Walmart. They are khaki and stone grey. They came in a 3 pack of different designs for 22 with taxes. Price = $7.34

Shoes: Allen Edmonds Soho model in some Euro-coffee color like cappuccino. They are oxfords and get plenty of wear during my days at University. All leather and hand made goodness for a steal thanks to an ebay seller. Price= $196

Total Price: So, for a grand total of $245.34 I have the spring/summer look that I mentioned on the 17th. Not bad if you ask me. The cost needs to be adjusted down because I can wear the shoes with so much more. Also, the blazer buttons were changed from a blue enamel to a brass design so, the price should be adjusted upwards by $8. Overall not bad.

*Pardon the chaotic pictures and layout. I will make an effort to show everything together on me; I will censor my face though.

The Golden Mean

Sartorialists have it hard. How far should one push self over tradition, style over tradition, and whimsy over tradition? Many say what looks good or what you can get away with. Truly no one knows for sure. After all, Mr. Brummells and the Dukes of Windsor are only born once every so often. I advocate the Golden Mean; find the extremes and try to hit the middle. That is where your aim should be. Sometimes more dandy than tradition other times not. To paraphrase Antongiovanni in his book, "The Suit," sometimes age and position in life make it prudent to avoid dandyism. His example is of a young professional out dressing his superiors; he only does so at his detriment.

So, take caution and know your place in life. Exploit your gifts and use restrain when needed.

For more on this topic pick up, "The Suit," by Nicholas Antongiovanni and visit LeDandy's blog. He discusses the topic here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Grad Gifts Guide for those with sartorialists, retrocentrics, and traditionalists in mind.

Recently I was asked by a friend what to get her boyfriend as a graduation gift. A. this is for you and anyone else who needs ideas.

I will categorize my suggestions in three groups:
  1. Cheap
  2. Affordable
  3. Money is no option

The best gifts have meaning and so my first recommendation is an heirloom; this is the "Cheap" option. For the sartorialist, retrocentric, and traditionalist; give them an item one of their family members has an accompanying story. Hand write, only if you have legible hand writing, or type the story up. Gift wrap the item with the note containing the story under the card. I would go for the easy way out and place the item in a decorative paper, covered well, then place the note and finally the card on top of everything. Price = >$5; really 0 but I thought I'd assign the presentation materials a value.

The "Affordable" options are a little less difficult to obtain. Like the last option your going to need to enlist some help. Find out what your grad likes, needs, or is interested in and purchase a low cost quality example. For instance, I love music, calligraphy, fountain pens, and elegant dressing. Here is what someone should get me that is affordable:
  • Music = CD, itunes giftcard, or if you really did your research you would purchase and gift me an album I don't have. Price = >$20
  • Calligraphy = calligraphy book or get a calligrapher to write my name and an exemplar Alphabet. Price = >$30
  • Fountain pens = get me a Lamy Safari, orange ink, or a pen holder. Price = >$25
  • Elegant Dress = vintage ties, colorful pantherelli socks, thrifted suit, grandfather's odd jacket. Price = >$60 or free depending on what tickles your fancy.
The rich can afford anything and especially during celebratory times. My advice is to my heavy walleted readers is to research and try to match your grads interests. Why? They don't need anyghing and all their likes are covered. So, instead of the cliches think just a bit. Don't over think it but don't blow it off either. The obvious thing to do is combine a cliche with an original idea. If they want to backpack plan a trip that takes them on a tour of their interests. How about a tour of Europe's exotic car manufacturers or a surf themed back packing adventure. If your grad is a budding dandy, send them to Savile Row for their first English bespoke suit. The retrocentric might want a rare fountain pen, an antique pocket watch, or some opera tickets so he can wear his white tie rig. To much thought for you here are some quick ideas:
  1. Goyard Briefcase; go for brown ages much better than black.
  2. Black or White tie rig; he'll need something for the dress events if he doesn't already have one.
  3. Nice slim wristwatch; think professional so, no rolex mariners or chunky watches
  4. Custom Desk Set
  5. Laptop; go for a top of the line Macbook Pro 17 inch with an apple cinema monitor and 5.1 surround sound speaker set.
As you can tell, a little thought goes a long way. Whatever your means are make sure to make it a special present and your grad will be happy!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Spring is here and Summer is approaching!

Summer is approaching and it is time to pull out the light colored clothes. In Atlanta, it is already warming up; a few days last week we hit 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Quite warm, you might be thinking. I enjoy wearing odd jackets and light colored pants during summer. My preference is for blazers and dark jackets with cream or pale chinos. Here is a photo:

How to do it:
  1. Wear a dark jacket or a patterned jacket.
  2. Contrast between jackets and pants by playing with the textures and patterns.
  3. Light colored shoes and shirts should be combined with this.
  4. For bonus points consider two tone shoes, spectators for example, or a hat, a straw panama is traditional.
Look below for some examples of how to pull this off.

The top picture is of the Hounds Tooth Kid, an internet friend and fellow sartorialist. The Kid keeps his local thrift shop busy by combing for vintage gear. He is a hat enthusiast and prefers vintage suits from the 30s - 50s. He went for a British look with the double breasted blazer, white linen pants with no break, and black shoes. He is wearing a pale blue shirt with a striped blue and white tie, note the blue on the tie is darker than the shirt. This would be a look that would not seem out of place in the early part of 20th century.

The second picture is of Will from A Suitable Wardrobe. He is known for his impeccable taste as well as his huge wallet that allows him to wear the finest items. He travels frequently to meet his tailors and pays them visits in their respective HQs. On to the matter at hand he is wearing a double breasted seer sucker jacket with cream linen pants. He is also wearing a white shirt with a navy tie and white buck shoes. The seer sucker and white bucks are common, especially in the South. I think the look is dashing and modern. It combines the traditional style of seer sucker with the casual white linen trousers. As a lover of Panama hats, he probably put down the hat as he entered his home.

The last picture is from vintage Esquire, a bible for sartorialists. The illustrations found in the magazine offer many ideas and elegant examples. The analysis is for you to perform. What works and why? Is the contrast in colors great enough? Is the entire get-up harmonious and would it look okay on you? If you answer these questions you will gain a greater understanding of how to pull of this look off and how to play with it. Take a look at these two gentleman's blogs.

Photo credit goes to The Hounds Tooth Kid from MrLapel.blogspot.com, Will from ASuitableWardrobe.dynend.com, and vintage Esquire Magazine.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Accenting Your Skin Tone Part 1

Accenting one's skin tone is a big deal when wearing unorthodox and hard to wear colors. With a little practice and observation one can gain major insight into what works for them and what doesn't. This series will begin with the color brown and is brought to you by the cloth hop sack and regimental tie... All kidding aside,as with most things, examples, rules, and images; help to initiate the novice.

Wearing ties, shirts, and suits that work together is the easy part; complementing and accenting your skin tone is really difficult to pull off consistently. The Gentleman pictured above pulls it off marvelously. The orange punches up the color in the suit and really glow next to his face. If you look at everything separately then together it even gets more brilliant. Also, orange ties are questionable on the face of things but more so on dark skinned black men yet, somehow he brings it altogether in harmony.

My Advice on this matter isn't to hard to follow. For dark skinned black men, I should know from experience, stick to suits in a lighter shade of brown than your skin tone. In suits if you go near or darker than your skin tone you would be wise to use texture. Make sure the texture, flannel or tweed are nice, causes a significant visual contrast from your color. If you heed this advice the color brown can be one in your suit or odd jacket arsenal.

Men of lighter complexions can wear pretty much any shade of brown but the darker shades are better suited to their fairer complexions.

Rust and other orange-ish shades of brown seem to look dashing on all when worn with attire that accents the particular shade of skin. I wear my rust colored hopsack odd coat with a cream shirt and red striped tie. The look seems to get the right combination of amazement and confusion as all unorthodox pairings do.

In conclusion, brown is a suitable color for all men. It should be worn with care to make sure the shade neither blends nor has a low contrast with one's skin tone. One should also take care to wear a shade that accents their skin tone. The right combinations of shirt, tie and suit make this color wearable.

Tune in for part two in Accenting your skin tone.....
Picture attributed to The Sartorialist at thesartorialist.blogspot.com

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Bow-tie

Bow ties are a dying article of clothing. It is completely surprising because it is much more comfortable than a straight tie. Also because of their unorthodox appearance, now days anyway, you can have much more fun. Go crazy with the patterns! If your going to wear one you might as well go in on the deep end. Besides, you will eventually have to learn how to tie one for formal occasions.

Here are some examples of patterns I wear:

  • A nice neat geometric purple tie from R. Hanauer.

  • An orange spotted tie from BeauTies Ltd. This is a look I'd wear in summer with a light blue striped shirt, a blue blazer, & some khakis or a light color.

  • Lastly this tie is a madras orange yellow and red tie from the Bow Tie Club. Something I plan on wearing with a blue or pink shirt this Spring and Summer in Atlanta.

Well to get you started you probably need to learn how to tie one. If you know how to tie your own shoes, it is the exact same not. For a video check out http://www.videojug.com/film/how-to-tie-a-bow-tie.

Here is an example of it all pulled together:

Photos taken from the websites of their respective makers and the last photo is from AskAndyAboutClothes.com forum. Attribution lies with said parties.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Green Ties and Blue Shirts

Green ties look awesome with blue shirts. It is a combination I wear around my university. The compliments come pouring out whenever I wear the two together.

How to pull it off:
  • Tie should be darker or shinier than the shirt
  • Dark skinned men should wear bluish greens, or darker greens
  • Light skinned men should embrace brighter greens
  • Never wear a lime green tie!
  • Nearly all knitted green ties can be worn by anyone
  • Hunter green is also good for anyone.
*Photo attributed to the sartorialist at thesartorialist.blogspot.com

The Lion Rises!

Welcome to my corner of the web. Let us begin with introductions; Jambo Bwana I am the Orange Gentleman.

In this blog I will discuss my eccentricities, interests, hobbies, and what I'm up to. I've had a few blogs but most of them were simply about one aspect of my life. Thusly, my interest waned; combining them will probably yield better results.

So, Good Bye!