Monday, November 29, 2010

New Nato watch bands

Today I received two new Nato watch bands from clockworksynergy at ebay.  Love these watch bands - they add tons of style to what was previously a boring watch.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Why you should wear mil spec sunglasses

After watching GQ Rules 2 - Ep.30 - Suit Your Shades I started thinking about USAF issued sunglasses.  A less expensive and in my view cooler option than the Wayfarer is to get genuine USAF aviator sunglasses in black or steel.

These shades run around $50 on ebay.  Search for AO sunglasses or American Optical sunglasses.  The key is to get the correct width.  Measure your forehead from temple to temple using a ruler.

5" = 52mm
5.25" = 55mm
5.75" = 58mm

These sunglasses are the real deal.  It's what real pilots in the USAF wear when they fly F-17 jet aircraft.  They also remind me of NASA astronauts in the 1960's.  Classic Americana.  Always appropriate.

The J. Peterman Company calls these sunglass Fort Knox Sunglasses.  They have a great description on their website:

"For combat pilots there are moments when distance and depth-of-field judgments, undistorted color-value relationships, UV (a & b) and infrared filtration, glare and haze suppression, and other factors, can be a matter of life and death.

Strolling along Rodeo Drive in your $250 “designer” sunglasses, these factors are not, perhaps, a matter of life and death.

Good thing they're not. Disturbing instances of expensive, supposedly reputable sunglasses failing to adequately filter harmful UV radiation are not rare; nor the converse; $5 sunglasses that test far better than the $250 kind. The problem is, how do you know which is which?

You don't. That's what we like about these: they were developed by American Optical to meet the exacting specifications of the U.S. Air Force (MIL-S-25948J). They don't cost $250, or $175, or $95. They cost $60. Buy them at the Fort Knox PX or from us. Either way, you can stop worrying. You've got the best."

Another good place to buy these sunglasses is US Wings

Best place ever to go shopping

Imagine going shopping and finding great stuff without paying a dime.  Where is this place?  Your closet.  Yes, your closet is an awesome place to find articles of clothing and shoes that you have completely forgotten about.  Next time you feel the urge to go shopping for new clothing, start by shopping within your closet.

Warby Parker eyeware

I think the folks over at Warby Parker eyeware may be on to something.  I paid a huge amount for my last pair of glasses.  It's funny to see the return of the monocle.

An interview with the founders of Warby Parker.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Custom Jack Purcell

This evening I messed around with designing my own custom Jack Purcell's on the Converse web site.  Why buy off the shelf Jack Purcell's at Zappos for $45 when you can design whatever FrankenPurcell that you want for $65.

Design #1

Design #2

Not exactly original, but close to how I like them.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tired of being a walking advertisement for Tumi and Faconnable

For over a decade, I've been carrying one several Tumi briefcases that I own which prominently feature a Tumi luugage tag attached to the handle.  Today I removed the Tumi tag.  Similarly, for years I've been wearing tons of faconnable with its conspicuous label.  I'm getting rid of most of my faco shirts in favor of unlabeled shirts.  Nordstrom has cut way back on Faconnable over the past year.  In fact, Nordstrom no longer has a Faconnable department at its flagship store.



I'm not really a sneakers kind of guy, but I wanted to own a couple good looking sneakers.  After spending an insane amount of time studying sneakers I became familiar with the entire history of the sneaker industry.  I finally settled on the following two Stan Smith sneakers:

At the end of the day, I was influenced by:
What Happened in Vegas: The Slim Black Sneaker
Slip on Sneakers with a Suit
Sneakers of the Day: Common Projects
White classic sneakers


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Shoes that every man must own

Here are few lists that various authors have put together of shoes that you must own.  I like it when style writers are forced to pick favorites.

Forbes Magazine in 2008
Modern Man - July 2010
Esquire Jnauary 2010
Esquire - unknown date
Dappered Classics - Shoes Every Man Should Own - July 2010 Classic Retro Sneaker Styles Top 10 Classic Sneakers that Never Go Out of Style
The Shoe Buff: Everything You Need to Know About Sneakers in 1500 Word


Just ordered The Ivy Look: Classic American Clothing - Graham Marsh and J-P Gual

I just ordered a copy of The Ivy Look on Amazon and I'll be writing a complete review in about a week.  In the mean time, here are a few reviews from other writers:

A closer look at Hooman Majd

Hooman Majd is a style icon.  Check out him out over at GQ.  The combination of the hermes jacket and the tie is brilliant.

He wears a couple different Omega watches - one with a white dial and a light brown arm strap and the other with a dark dial and a darker brown arm strap.

Must see TV - GQ Rules

You must watch GQ's latest rules over at  Glenn O'Brian ends the final video by saying "every day when you get dressed, think of it as an art project."


Jack Spade Backpack

Adam Rapoport at GQ is strongly recommending Jack Spade's backpack as a must have accessory in the December 2010 issue of GQ.  We decided to take a closer look.  Rapoport says: "Confession time: We don't always practice what we preach at GQ.  As often as we tell guys to graduate to a briefcase, we're having a hard time kicking the hands-free habit.  I'm hooked on this super durable backpack from Jack Spade.  Looks good, works better."

Nylon Canvas is designed for strength and durability. The body material is 1100 denier canvas, producing the greatest density between yarns and ensuring water resistance. Structured yet pliable, it is a sturdy fabric that eases with use. The bags are detailed with finished seams that retain their shape and compliment the softened corners. The interior is lined with nylon rip-stop, which is both lightweight and long lasting.

—Large main zipper opening
—Front zipper pouch
—Two exterior slide slip pockets
—Top small hidden zipper pocket
—Adjustable shoulder straps and top handle
—Interior computer slip pocket
—Interior organizing pockets
—12.5" x 5" x 15.25"

Available in three colors: black, blue and canvas.


I really like the elegance and simplicity of the Jack Spade backpack.  It's an upscale and highly refined version of the basic Jansport SuperBreak backpack that I used when I used in college (see Jansport at ebags).  SuperBreak is the number one selling backback in the world.

It's interesting how Jack Spade took the best selling backpack design and created a version that fits his design aesthetic. Functionally, the two backpacks are similar.  I carried the blue Jansport with me during the four years that I was an undergrad and it never let me down. 

Why spend $175 on the Jack Spade?  First, the design is terrific.  Second, the Jansport label signals to the world "I'm a college student and I'm carrying a $25 Jansport backpack for my books and my laptop."  The Jack Space label screams "I'm a sophisticated adult with excellent taste in design and I can afford a cool $175 backpack."

Bottom Line
I own both the Jack Spade and the black American Apparel Nylon Cordura Bag for $42.  I strongly prefer the Jack Spade over the American Apparel backpack.  See: Obsession of the Day

Finally, here is an interview with Jack Spade in WSJ that is worth reading.

How many watches do we really need to own?

TheStyleBlogger argues that we only need one watch.  I like this mind set.  It's easy to get caught in the trap of thinking we need an entire collection of watches.  With mobile phones, arguably we don't need a any watches.  Watches have become a piece of jewlery.  How many pieces of jewlery do we need to own?  I would argue back to Dan Trepanier that we also need an outdoors watch akin to a Casio G-Shock.  The answer is: two watches.

Military Watches and Mil Specs

I've always really liked military watches because they emphasis function ahead of form.  Pure function. Military watches are based on military specifications.  Here's a great site that discusses mil spec watches

I'm particularly fond of the MOD 66-4 standard which the Omega Seamaster is designed after:

This is the original design as set forth by the Ministry of Defence from the 1960's.  This is an elegant watch design. I like the simplicity.  Of course, watch makers have taken this original design and abstract it to something unrecognizable over time.  See Def Stan 66-46/1

Today's MOD watchface from 1991, by contrast is less attractive.  Really quite uninspiring.

Again, form over function.

What to look for in a James Bond Nato watch strap

I'm planning on getting a Nato watch strap for my IWC.  For many decades, everybody thought that James Bond wore something like:

I really like this design which is readily available from several sellers on ebay for $10-$20.

With the advent of Blue Ray we were astonished to discover that the Bond Nato watch strap actually looks like:

Corvus is the only company selling a replica of the James Bond Nato watch strap as seen in the movie.  Price is about $40.

Here are some articles worth reading:

Mil-Spec for Nato watch straps: Ministry of Defence - Defence Standard 66-47 - Strap, Wrist Watch

Bond With Time - The Wristwatches of James Bond

James Bond's Watches

James Bond's watch was not always stylish

In Search of the Real James Bond Watch Strap

Will the Real James Bond Watch Strap Please Stand Up?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My next sunglasses

Someday, maybe I'll get a pair of Persol 649 (black).  GQ and thestyleblogger are big fans of these sunglasses.  They look awesome.  Within my circle, they are are a wee bit too fashionable forward.
I'll stick with something more classic and reserved such as the RayBay Wayfarer - Tortoise G-15XLT or in black or both.

Article about cordovan shoes - resiliance in wet weather

I've been thinking seriously about getting a pair of cordovan shoes ever since I read that GQ's style director wears the same pair of plain toe cordovan shoes nearly every day to work.  Must be a tough pair of shoes that looks and feels great.

A Suitable Wardrobe: Cordovan Weather

"Shell cordovan's usefulness in the wet stems from the same characteristic that makes it warm wearing, that being that it resists moisture to a much greater extent than other leathers."

Saturday, November 20, 2010

How to Dress for a Boat Show

Here's a great article, courtesy of Faconnable that you should read if you plan to attend the Monaco Boat Show.

"The French Riviera is never short of a boat or yacht show, and what better opportunity to socialise with friends or even network with potential contacts or colleagues. Typically you’ll need a casual outfit for the daytime and perhaps a more formal attire for the evening events.

Façonnable’s Fall/Winter 2010 menswear collection provides a way for you to wear one outfit that will add sophistication and class during the day and carry you through to the evening without feeling too under-dressed.

Try wearing these Flat Front ‘Milleraies’ Corduroy trousers in Brown. They are a great compromise and are far smarter than jeans, but not quite as formal as suit trousers. Team these with a plain black top like the Classique-Fit Long Sleeve Tee in Black. As outerwear during the day, opt for the Classic Lightweight Shirt Jacket in Brown. The black and brown contrast contributes to a statement smart casual balance.

To accessorise, wear some smart black shoes like these Richelieu Dress Shoes, look for a matching belt like this Distressed Leather Belt in Black that will contrast with the brown trousers. To accessorise the look further during the day, add a chunky brown scarf for warmth and to add more of a focal point to the outfit."

WinterSilks Long Underwear Pants

I used to always feel cold in the winter until I discovered Wintersilk long underwear pants.

"Whisper-fine silk forms our most popular men's long underwear. Warm & breathable to protect you from the elements. Airy & light for comfort indoors and out. They're perfect as cool weather sleepwear. And thanks to the hard-wearing characteristics of natural silk, you can toss them in the wash and expect them to last for years."

They feel great and are incredibly light weight.  Mine typically last 3-4 years before they are shredded.

GQ Style Manual

I want to put a plug in for the GQ Style Manual which has been has been on newstands for a couple months.  GQ did a awesome job of packing a massive amount of valuable information into 128 pages.

Layering with Land's End vest

This week I received my gray down vest from Land's End (Item # 39277-3A72) as a layering piece after watching GQ Rules 3 - Episode 6 - Get Down on YouTube.

I love this vest.  Only $34.50.  Get one size smaller than you would normally order.  I am normally a large and the medium fits about right, perhaps even a bit big.  I've been able to layer with quite a number of items - for example over/under my jeans jacket as well as under my wool top coat.  Highly recommened.

How To Become A Star Style Blogger

Thankfully this is just a hobby, and not my main gig.

Real Versus Pretend Military watches

This fall season, military insprired watches are all the range.  Most, if not all of these military insprired watches are poorly designed or look whimpy.  Example - Glashutte original:

The placement of the date field covers up the numbers.  For $9K, you deserve better design.  You can tell that the department at Glasshutte that makes the watch movements rules over the department that designs the watch face. 

Would you take this watch with you on a mission into Afganistan? Of course not.  You would never take one of these military inspired watches with you into the field.  Why would you want to put one of these whimpy watches on your arm?

I say, get yourself a more real military like watch such as the Luminox Navy Seals watch.  The Sandy 650 Navigator watch is the real deal as it conforms to mil spec (MIL-W-46374F/6645-01-364-4042):

Alternatively, get yourself a Casio G-Shock which I understand is the watch that many in the U.S. special forces actually use today.  The real military watch is a Casio G-Shock with a Nato band.  Create your own so-called Mil-shock watch

Here's an ancient mil spec watch face specification for the so called Bradley watch made by Corvus.  I think this is an elegant watch face design if you ignore the moisture indicator.

Daily uniform

Whenever I have a hard time deciding whether I should invest in a particular piece of clothing, I ask myself whether Tim Gunn would buy this.  Not that I trying to emulate Tim Gunn's style.  My goal is to achieve the most style with a minimal wardrobe.  It's not about saving money - it's about reducing complexity.

There are a few men who take their uniforms to an extreme - most notably Steve Jobs.  Steve doesn't want to think about fashion when he gets up in the morning.  Michael Kors has his uniform.  Jeff Bezos (Amazon) has his.

How do we strike the right balance between being fashionable, and keeping life simple?  The trick is to be highly selective in terms of the pieces that we choose to buy.  In Tim Gunn's case, his small closet limited the amount of clothing he was able to own.  Tim needed to make smart choices in order to make the most of his limited wardrobe.

Interesting article about Ray-Ban Wayfarer

"In 2001, the Wayfarer underwent a significant redesign, with the frames made smaller and less angular, and changed from acetate to a lighter injected plastic. The changes were intended to update the frames' style during a period of unpopularity and to make them easier to wear (the frames' previous tilt made them impossible to perch on top of one's head, for instance)"

Great article about timeless classics

Really like this post from The Style Blogger.  Ryan looks phenomenal.

Tim Gunn - Wardrobe

I adore Tim Gunn. He's elegant, suave, intelligent and articulate with plenty of integrity.  Tim is the reason why Project Runway is successful.

Observations about Tim's wardrobe:

1) Until recently, Tim has had a "meager" budget to acquire his wardrobe.

2) As of 2007, Tim had a tiny closet.  It's surprising how few pieces he owns (for example, only 8 pairs of dress shoes).

3) Tim's clothing fits well.

4) Tim has upgraded his wardrobe since he assumed his new role as Chief Creative Officer for Liz Claiborne.

5) Tim demonstrates to us that it's possible to look fabulous with a relatively limited wardrobe.  We don't have to own a zillion articles of clothing to look great.  We simply need to own the right articles of clothing that fit well.

6) Tim personifies the notion of elegant simplicty.

Video about Go Inside Tim Gunn's closet
Article about Inside My Closet: Tim Gunn
Tim's travel wardrobe: Tim Gunn's Guide to Packing
Tim Gunn on Facebook

Pocket squares

A short video about how to make your own pocket square - The Pocket Square (Alpha M Image Consulting).  Basically, you go to fabric store and you purchase 1/2 a yard of fabric ($3-$4).  Cut a 10"x10" square of the fabric.  Don't worry about the edges because nobody will see them.  This is a great option because you are not limited to whatever is available for purchase ready made.

Another low cost option for pocket squares is the tie bar ($8).  I strongly prefer cotton pocket squares over silk.  Here's a pocket square that has been featured in GQ (solid white, hand rolled black border):

You can also make your own pocket squares by cutting them out of second hand shirts as describe at TheStyleBlogger.

Are pocket squares in our or out?  GQ has been featuring them prominently the last few years.  Esquire says they are out.  My view is that pocket squares -- done correctly -- add a nice touch when you are not wearing a tie.

Manly watchband, gentleman's watch

The flipside of my previous post is to pair an elegant gentleman's watch such as a Rolex or an IWC with a James Bond style Nato strap as shown below (from Making the Switch):

Omega Seamaster with brown leather armband

I really like the contrast between the manly omega seamaster and the gentlemanly dark leather armband as shown in the following picture (courtesy of justhideandwatch blog).

I think this watch looks ridiculously large and oversized.  I prefer the smaller version of the Omega Seamaster.