Friday, October 30, 2009

Coming Attractions

Okay, as always I like to keep y'all informed, if I may adopt an Atlanta phrase. So, in the coming weeks I plan to delve deeper into personal style development. I will be taking a few personal days in the upcoming weeks and will plan to drop a few heavy posts. I want to do blitz about pens, ink, stationary, and doodling. I also plan on a stay-cation before work goes crazy with the Holiday season crowd. So, during the stay-cation I'll probably be finally releasing the unwanted post on pocket watch accessories I promised as well as my personal collection.

As I post I find I'm no longer finding myself thinking about posting. The ideas are just flowing in. I'm even taking inspiration from the blogosphere. The whole personal style dev posts where inspired by Guiseppe of I look forward to more posts and to continue blogging along with y'all.

P.S. Last Month Was Our 6 month Anniversary, if one can say that and sound intelligent.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Personal Style: The Signature and Eccentricities

As you further develop your personal style you will begin to see there are some things you constantly do or don't do. These are your signatures and your eccentricities. Many will develop without you consciously seeking them out. These things will make any look you put together yours.

Your signature is a beautiful thing and something unique to your person. Sometimes they are a cultural thing and many in your culture might develop it, for example Americans and OCBDs. Other times you will find that they are only your thing although others may ape you if you reach prominence.

Eccentricities have an attractive quality that influences others. Some replicate and most will duplicate. Other gentlemen will be inspired by your quirks. Also these signatures help your confidence because they come natural to you. While you may enjoy stiff starched collars, you may find that the club collared shirts are your favorites. Others will take notice and complement you on them; that is when you know that you truly own it and it is now a part of your personal styles.

Let us take a look at some examples of Signatures:

Sator, a master of the sartorial arts with a penchant for historical modes, wears historically influenced waistcoats.

Here is a waistcoat with shawl collared lapel. He fashioned it after a waistcoat ad he saw from the Edwardian era. He liked the peaking or exaggerated downward curve of the waistcoats of that era. After much research, he realized that their intent was to elongate the figure. This practice still exists but less curving is done; it can be seen in modern db waistcoats.

Here is a close-up for all the details.
While this slipped waistcoat is something not very different from what is available today it is special. The slipping is usually lighter than waistcoats and never black in contemporary examples. Also the buttons on most waistcoats are meant to blend in and not to contrast as heavily as those on Sator's waistcoat. This is an example of Sator's exuberance and eccentric study of past modes that allowed him to duplicate cues from the past and incorporate them into his dress today.

Our next example is HRH Prince Michael of Kent. He is known for several things, his command of the Russian language, his resemblance to the last Czar of Russia, his magnificent Jesus beard, and his huge tie knots.

Prince Michael's ties are quite thick all the way through but it is the huge knots that are of interest. His bespoke ties are made thicker because he likes the knots to be large and the tie to have body. It also seems that he gets long medium spread collars to accommodate his thick tie knot. A thing of his own, while not for me, it actually harmonizes with the rest of his appearance. The big beard, collar, and tie knot rest naturally near each other.
This picture illustrates more evidently how the collar accommodates the tie.

So, I leave you with another song full of wisdom.

May your drums beat loud,

The Eccentric Orange Gentleman

Personal Style Development

As unique as we are we tend to develop a herd mentality. The blogosphere doesn't really help especially with all the trad, sartorial, traditional style ones available. If your new to the sartorial arts aping looks is perfectly fine. Just beware of replication, instead seek duplication.

To fully grasp my point we must discuss the difference between replication and duplication. According to it is, "The process by which genetic material, a single-celled organism, or a virus reproduces or makes a cop of itself." Replication is an attempt at an exact copy. Duplication is a process of copying. In genes it occurs as an embryo is developing. It is not exact and leads to free mutation. This is called genetic recombination. An example of this would be the one really tall person in a family of short people.

Now let me return to the point of my post. As a new gentleman to the sartorial arts one should duplicate not replication. Duplication allows you to freely mutate, if you will, the look into something you would wear. Replication removes the very thing that makes you you; your personality. In addition to that, you've stolen another individuals personal style. I wont dwell on that very long understand that some aspects of personal style are, as the name suggests, personal. These things may have really deep meaning so, be mindful and respectful.

Personal style is the easiest to develop because you already have it. You have preferences on color, formality, and patterns. Simply use them in your duplication of the looks you see in magazines, books, and the many blogs, hopefully mine is on your list. Go ahead! You don't like blue but want to try the Atlanta College Boy look; try a pink shirt. Still not enough of you in it. How about a pink OCBD, oxford cloth button down, instead of a spread collar.

Let me make this as clear as possible. Duplicate the form but allow your personal style to shine through by integrating it in the choices you make for the look. My example of this is, I don't really like OCBDs very much so I wear spread collars. Even if the look I'm duplicating is using an OCBD, I still wont wear it.

I like to impart some practicality as well as examples. So, let us perform an exercise.
The following photo is from

This look is composed of a green blazer worn with khakis, OCBD, & a crew neck sweater.
My Take: I don't like green blazers, crew neck sweaters, or OCBDs. Also I prefer to wear ties. To make it mine I'd wear a blue blazer, a v-neck sweater, a soft collar shirt. The rest of the colors are fine with me.

Next we have a photo from Will's

Nicholas Antongiovanni is wearing a navy sport coat with a checked, country, button down shirt, and a yellow knit tie.
My Take: Button downs and yellow knit ties don't work with me so, I would forgo them. I would wear a spread collar with a red knit tie. Everything else is okay with me.

In the final Photo I have Mr. Sperelli taken from his blog,

Mr. Sperelli is the gentleman on the left wearing a black corduroy jacket in a medium whale worn with a purple, striped, contrast collar shirt. He also is wearing a tan waistcoat and a purple pocket square.
My Take: I would change the pocket square to a patterned version, I rarely wear solid ones anymore. I like red and navy worn with purple for pocket squares. I would change the tie to a solid in a maroon. The different colors are an homage to my culture. In Africa color clashing is an art. Though, in East Africa, maroon, purple, and navy are placed together quite commonly. You'll see it in patterns everywhere. So, aside from looking well put together, it makes an inside statement of pride to other East Africans.

In conclusion, we should seek to always display our own style. Duplication of looks is acceptable; replication is not. We all know what we intuitively like and should try to include that when we duplicate looks to expand our sartorial vocabulary. Let your personality shine through in your appearance. A favorite color, a bending of a rule, or an homage to ones club or ethnicity are ways to express personal style. Like all things; when you practice this it soon becomes simply a part of your style, the epitome of personal style.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fall is All About Textures

When Fall arrives, the game changes from vivid colors on display to a little bit of colors and heavy doses of texture. Textures begin to take over the sartorial landscape. Textures are extremely easy to match. You simply keep rough textures with rough textures. Also some contrast with smooth and shiny textures is okay. A good compromise is keeping everything rough and contrasting with a tie, pocket square, or both.

Let us consider the following images for analysis:

In this Apparel Arts Fall/Winter accessories image you see the color splashed in between the staid colors of the gentlemen's suit and coat.

This image from an ebay auction. This is a 1940s style DB suit. It is a herringbone with a double over stripe in a lighter reddish-brown. This over stripe is a nice way of playing with the herringbone pattern and adding some color to it. It is finished with a bright and playful pocket square which breathes life into this otherwise plain ensemble.

Here, the image in the left box, the gentleman mixes many textures. Gray flannel pants, a v-neck sweater, and a tweed over coat. The color in this grouping is done with what looks like a knit tie
Apparel Arts gives us another example. While in brown tones mainly the gentleman in the left brightens up the look with a red, Churchill dot tie. It looks like he is wearing a medium brown tweed coat and some heavy chinos in a British khaki color. Note, I hate the shoes I remember wearing them to private school. In different colors they are awesome; I personally like a brown toe and heel with an oxblood vamp.

Another Apparel Arts image is presented for analysis. Here the textures are the main focus. The suit underneath this over coat appears to be a calvary twill pattern, this can be a very distinctive texture that only shows up at a close distance. The overcoat is a herringbone tweed in a relatively wide scale it appears. Like pattern matching it helps to keep the visible elements of a texture varying in scale. This is more evident in herringbones and twills.

Lastly another photo from ebay. This time the color is from a shirt. Keeping with the Season's colors, the hues are somber yet punch brightly. Against the heather brown surface this shirt really stands out.

To sum up, textures are where you want to show your dandy side during winter. Don't be afraid of colors just keep it to a minimun. Contrast lightly and do mix several textures.

Photo Credit: various ebay sellers and Apparel Arts.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

An Orange Pocket Square

When I first saw this pocket square a year ago I knew I had to have it. I'm glad it is still around; I only purchased it last week. It is a Kent Wang orange striped pocket square made from cotton.

Why did I want it so much. Right about this time 3 years ago my late father had returned from Africa. He was running a non-profit org and helping out some NGOs focused on East African problems. While he was there he went on a safari of Masai Mara. It was cold, yes it gets cold in Africa even on the Equator, he purchased some hand knitted blankets from the Masai in the first village they encountered. One of the blankets looks just like this pattern except really really bright orange. The green and royal blue stripes really liven up the orange. The blanket really reminded me of home. When we lived in Nairobi we had a few Masais that lived near us and although modern they knitted these and sold them in town. There house was decorated with handmade crafts thanks to the mother's taste and the father's lawyer's salary.

Orange & Brown

Let us consider wearing orange and brown together. In Fall, these colors really work well together and if it works for the leaves it can't be half bad.

Esquire photo: brown checked tweed and orange shirt with a contrast collar

Some tailoring Shop. The light brown tweed jacket on the right with an orange pocket square and a navy with orange stripes tie. The dark, grayish-brown tweed on the left is matched with a bright orange silk tie.

This photo is from a Swedish blog I can't recall: another brown checked tweed matched with a dark orange tie and an orangey-brown square. It looks like paisley.

Here a famous abdicator wears an orange pastel shirt paired with a brown odd jacket with an orange over check.

In this German ad, the gentleman on the left is wearing a dark brown jacket with an orange tie.

Photo Credit: Credited under the photo unless I can't remember. Again, if they are yours and you want them down shoot me an email or leave a comment.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fall & Winter Socks

Fall and Winter brings inclement weather and harsh winds. Atlanta may never reach freezing, but for a few days, still the wind is bone chilling. Little things like layering lightly and heavier socks help one retain sensation and maintain body temperature.

Wool socks are always a go to item during these colder months. Wool blends, cashmere, and even knitted silk all have their benefits and should also be considered. That is enough talk of materials let us move to pattern.

Typically you'll see herringbones, my favorite pattern, and argyles. This is made more obvious in this Esquire photo. I say consider ribbed hose like the navy one for more formal settings; the surface interest keeps it interesting while avoiding informality. Also consider diagonal ribbing and vertical striping for the same purposes. Vertical striping can also be used in dandy situations if you chose a wide scale, interesting color, or multiple colors. For casual situations try a tartan, or large scaled herringbone.

What do I like to wear in winter. I wear alot of vertical striped, and herringbones in distinctive colors and scales. Before they ripped, I had a curry colored, herringbone, ribbed pair of socks. Under a pair of dark, or British, khakis they blended in. Up close and personal you could see the darker ribbing in between the whales. This is how you dandify sock wearing in Fall/Winter. The bright colors work as well but are hard to find in wool.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Atlanta College Boy Look in Fall

In Fall, Atlanta boys still in university dress something like this:
  • Medium Weight Cardigan
  • Spread Collar Shirt, light blue is the favorite
  • Alternatively you could go for a polo or rugby shirt worn without a tie
  • Chinos, light colors are favored un-ironed too hungover to wake up in time to do so
  • Wool Knit Tie, red, blue, green tones are favored
  • One could also wear a paisley bow tie
  • The dandies finish up with colored socks, blue seems to be the standard
  • Loafers of any variety finish off the look, this is where you see whom is rich or not, the rich boys wear Gucci bit loafers and the rest of us wear penny loafers in various forms.

Here is my take on this. In case you are wondering, I'm wearing a Sekonda 2209 caliber movement watch on a NATO strap.

These knit ties arch so beautifully.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


What I Wore Yesterday:

Light Weight Cardigan Navy Blue
Blue Checked Shirt
Lord of the Isles Tartan Patterned Wool Tie

Heavy Wool '60s(Medium Weight for the Era) Navy Herringbone Pants
Purple Striped Socks

Austrian Antique Pocket Watch attached to my 2nd to last button

Brain Pocket Notebook in Chocolate Brown

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Have Fun in Fall With Tartan Odd Trousers

I'm a big fan of having fun with your clothing. I like to throw in one or two articles just for me. Mine are usually bright, whimsical, or symbolic. In Fall, the easiest way to do this is with tartan odd trousers. I caught so much hell for this when I was still an undergrad. The ladies respected it though and I usually got noticed more than my friend.

Back to business; tartan is really nice for the colder times of the year. Why? Well, it's usually made from a warmer fabric, wool, tweed, flannel. I usually wear mine with solid odd jackets and thick striped shirts.

I'm currently working on a pair for myself. It is going to be made-to-measure with a high waist and fishtail back. I've got a few ideas and about how I'm going to wear it. I just need to decide the pattern.

It is safe to say it wont be any of these.

Photo Credit: An old Brooks Brothers catalog,

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

How I Wear Knit Ties.

I love wearing knit ties. The texture and surface interest is just amazing. I avoid solid colors unless they are different. Everyone has them in black or navy so, be a little different; I say go with a striped combination. I like some yellow in them to remind me spring and summer will return. I also go for bigger scaled stripes because It just isn't that typical. These images show how I would wear them save the button down shirts;I reserve those for bow ties. These contrast well with medium spread collars. The mixture of formal collar and informal tie work well. Plus, the ties are informal enough to be worn with a California tuxedo; jeans, dress shirt, jacket, and tie.

For an illustration see the images below:

Knit tie in I Zingari colors of red gold and black.

This one is on my wish list. Too bad I can never find it.

Horizontal striped knit tie in red, yellow, and navy blue.

Horizontal stripes are common in knit ties especially the flat-ended ones. American professors are famous for this pattern. The preppy ivy league professors wear this particular style.

Photo Credit: Ebay various sellers.

Inspiration from a friend!

If you've been following my blog, you know I love Bottega Venetta and their signature woven pattern. So, after reading a friends blog I decided to see if AE made a loafer in a woven pattern. Just my luck they do. I picked up this pair. Bonus! It came with wooden shoe trees. Sweet!

My next loafer purchase is going to be a Prince Albert slipper with tassels; I wonder if I can get it in persimmon orange velvet.

Alan thanks for the inspiration.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Layering Right

Sweater Vest
Odd Tweed Waistcoat

Ribbed Cardigan
V-neck Sweater

Wool Tartan Waistcoat

In my opinion you should have 3 basic colors and then work your way to other colors.
  1. Navy
  2. Gray/Charcoal
  3. White/Cream

You can wear the basics with virtually anything. A few other colors to have are reds(bright tomato, maroon, etc), a bottle green, and maybe lighter shades of blue. Tartans should be kept minimal and make sure you know how to tone it down if it is loud. As far as tweed, whatever you like. I personally like grays and orange browns. Occasionally, I'll get a salt and pepper tweed; kidding I have 3 in my closet.

If you are layering similar colors make sure the first layer is lighter than the subsequent layer and darker than your tie. In other words, if you are wearing a charcoal suit a medium grey makes the best layer. Otherwise, just go the other way. I like to wear bright layers under dark jackets and dark layers under light jackets. The contrast is awesome!

Photo Credit: Paul Stuart, Jcrew, Everyday Elegance Blog, & a Japanese blog I can't remember.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Sweater as Jacket


Photo credit: J.Crew

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Of Sweaters

I'm back from from my hiatus. Hope everything has been well with you all in blogland.

Moving on; sweaters are the go to item in fall and winter. I'm partial to cardigans and sleeveless sweaters, or vests. The cardigans if thick enough can be worn as a jacket of sorts and if not can be worn under a jacket as another layer to keep you warm. When I used to ride a train to University it really came in handy to have that extra layer. Sleeveless sweaters are really nice for days that aren't really cold but are breezy. The wind in Atlanta cuts through bones and you really need that extra layer over your solar plexus. Plus they don't get too warm since your arms are exposed. V-neck sweaters are the last kind I wear regularly; don't get me wrong I wear crew necks and toggled button sweaters too just not as much as the former three. V-necks are excellent with bow ties and are at home with wool and knitted ties. The textures really work well when you vary them like that. I avoid the professor look by not wearing jeans and opting for checked pants or corduroys.

So, lets proceed to some photo analysis to give you some ideas my friends.

This is a Ralph Lauren image from 2 years ago. This entire look is something I'd wear with some minor changes; pink OCBD, orange-brown tie, brightly colored watch strap, and a real expression not a ridiculous model look. What do I like about this look? Well, the herringbone tweed is something I'm fond of. The Fair Isle patterned sleeveless sweater and corduroys add textural differences that are really nice. The corduroys could go one of two ways, they should be darker or lighter the color is too close to the vest and it is my preference to break up colors. All in all very nice!

Winston, a fellow blogger and free lance writer, wears the sweater as jacket. He wears a very English look with the bright striped, contrast collar, french-cuffed shirt and an even brighter bow tie. Winston follows this with an olive corduroy pant. Again I would wear this entire look except I would wear different pants. I dislike olive, it doesn't work very well with dark skin tones. I think a brown or navy would work well. Maybe even a moleskin pant in persimmon orange. A minor gripe is I don't wear very much red so, I would wear a navy or charcoal grey tie. This is almost identical to what I would wear out during winter. In fact I'm wearing a V-necked light weight navy cardigan with a pink striped shirt, cuff-linked of course. I'm pairing that with cream corduroys and a Churchill dotted bow tie. Very close right?Photo coming very soon.