FMF – enduring the frigid temperatures in style

My thermostatfur says -1 degree.  It’s time for the man-fur!  Calm down PETA, it’s a faux-man-fur (FMF).  The picture really says it all.  Perfect for erands to The Home Depot, a drink at the Golf Club to retire the February minimum,  of course – church, and even a casual dinner with the fam at Chili’s.

I’m a growing fan of direct order clothing from Korea.  I’m liking their approach to slim fit and the prices are fantastic!  The only problem is the sizing.  My 6’1″, 180 pound European frame doesn’t quite jive with the Asian sizes.  I end up returning 1 out of 3 orders.  This one worked out though – Korean XXL fits like a glove!

No need to exclusively sport the puffy jacket this time of year.  The FMF allows weathering the winter chill in style.

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Unfortunately Trending Now: Funeral Attire and Sending Flowers

black silhouetteSomeone very close to me died this week.  Today is the service and I will have a speaking role.  I originally pictured myself in the black suit, black tie traditional garb.  Yesterday, the rest of the “inner circle” decided not to wear suits or ties, but rather dawn comfortable wear, which is their right to do during a very tough time.

As much as I like being the center of attention, this event is not about me. It’s about honoring the recently deceased, and those close.  However, I don’t feel as though I can honor, properly, wearing comfortable shoes and a knit shirt.

So here’s what I’m going with: Dark suit (not black), shirt with cufflinks and a pocket square.  The suit and cufflinks are formal.  The pocket square will be a floral pattern.   It’s my way of sending flowers.  I feel this approach is respectful to the moment, not divergent from the “inner circle’s” desires, and most importantly frames the words I will be sharing.  What you wear sets up an image for those you interact with.  Your personality, your words, your smile emerge through that, but you always want to get off to the right start.

Floral Pocket Square

When a professional golfer birdies the first hole, he or she is saying, “I came to play”.  There are 75 holes left to play to win the tournament, but that first impression sends a message that matters (to the media, the other players, and to their own brain).

I’m pleased with this approach. And the added bonus is that I won’t be mistaken for the limo driver.

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Tis the season for Sales: Focus on (not-so) puffy vests.

sale uniqlo

We’re in that great time of year where the new exciting Spring/Summer lines are beginning to line the shelves.  If you’re sick of winter already, you can at least picture yourself on the horizon, sporting these lighter fashions.  It’s also a time for incredible sales on the  leftover pre-Christmas inventories.  You can score big, and still get a few months of in-year utility till spring.  I’ll continue to share these as they come in.

sale Northface

I’m focused on the new ultra light puffy vests.  I find the Uniqlo and Northface brands in particularly interesting, both for warmth and fashion.  As I mentioned in a previous blog Trending:  an Overcoatless Winter, these warm, sleek vests can fashionably replace the winter overcoat.

vest uniqlo

I was at the midtown NYC Uniqlo this week and tried several on.  There are tons of great, pastel colors, and they are truly super light.  Thin too.  I’d say about 50% less bulky than the Lands End one I own (which isn’t all that bulky either).  Only one issue – they WEREN’T ON SALE!

Now at $49.50, they are very affordable.  I’d put them at parity for quality and fashion against the Northface (selling for $130).  But this is the season for DEALS, and $49.50 is the everyday price!  I’m in stalking mode for the big sale.  Will keep you posted.

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Holiday Party Prep: Christmas Tree FAIL

In addition to my Banana Republic Black Friday SCORE, I was also successful in grabbing a Home Depot door-buster $59, 7.5 foot tall, pre-lit indoor Christmas tree with both clear and multi-color lights (normally $179)!  I’ll still buy a real tree, but will go smaller this year and have trees in two rooms.  The fresh one will have all of the traditional ornaments, all the 100-year-old antiques.  The old ornaments are special, but I’m excited to create the new look!

I’m hosting a holiday cocktail party this Saturday, so I planned to get that project completed this weekend.  My plan – go with a candy theme, ornately decorated pieces, all the same ornament, and find them on sale.

My first stop, Pier 1 Imports.  I like to start a project like this at Pier 1.  They have great variety, and often inspire ideas.  If you hit them right, they have great sales, but none the day I go.  Surprisingly, although they have neat options for other decorations and buy a few, I’m not impressed with their ornaments this year.  Second stop, Target.  No good.  Not bad stuff, just not what I had in mind.cane swarovski

Third stop, Marshalls.  A few options to ponder, and reasonably priced.  I see these little disco balls in pink, green, turquoise and gold, and think they’re perfect.  They’ll reflect the lights, and the disco theme works great for the party.  I also find a tiny disco ball garland in red.  I hit Walmart (shhh, please don’t tell anyone.  I despise Walmart), and find a neat candy option with, but they are twice the price of Marshalls.  I buy a couple samples just to have.  I have a back-up option, and can always continue an eye out for my candy theme, and pick ‘em up on 12/26 clearance (I wish I thought of this last year.  Was thinking it’s be cool to have a bunch of those Swarovski or Waterford crystal ornaments.  If I could get a deal this year post Christmas, I may just do it!)

How great do tehse look!

How great do these look!

Back home and fully decorated, “Houston, we have a problem…”

Without the tree’s lights on, it looks great.  The balls, the colors, great balance.  But when the clear lights turn on, the balls almost disappear.  The multi-color lights – even worse.  The colors of the disco balls are just too dark.  I fidget with the balls for maximum refraction of the celestial bodies, but it’s for nil.  Total FAIL!

It looks worse in real life.  So sad.

It looks worse in real life. So sad.

I’ll keep a few of the disco balls because I really like them.  They’ll go on the regular tree.  The rest will go back to Marshalls.  With five days till the cocktail party, looks like I’m going back to Walmart during lunch (perhaps Macy’s and Christmas Tree Shops too).

Cringe….

Trending: an Overcoat-less winter?

It’s December and snow is on the ground in the Northeast.  Winter is here for a while.  The holidays, skiing, and sipping port by the fire are all things I look forward to, but the day to day “Winter Tax” is well, taxing.

Winter Tax – all the extra stuff that’s necessary for day to day living in cold climates.  Hats, scarves, boots, overcoats and gloves come out of the closets.  You need a scraper and a shovel if you own a car.   You have to constantly stomp your feet at the door to keep the salt off the floors.  (I once hosted a New Years party during an ice storm, and over-salted the walk-way, so no one would slip.  I’m still finding the occasional crystal near the corner molding).

Unlike the looming cliff talk, this tax is already here.  Is there a means to lighten the load?  Perhaps.

I will attempt this season to shed the overcoat.

A suit + scarf, hat, and gloves can keep one perfectly warm – up to a point.  I have pulled this off successfully this season, without being the least bit cold.  This has worked with light snow, and in 29-degree weather.  I will keep pushing this limit, until I reach chill point.  (Aside – a winter fedora will not mess up and will protect setting hair cream from precipitation as well)

Note – I HATE being cold.  So my chill point is conservative.

Once I hit the chill point, I will try the newly fashionable “field vest”.

gq-endorses-coatless-winter-3gq-endorses-coatless-winter-1gq-endorses-coatless-winter-4

The modern insulates are so thin, the vest will fit under the suit jacket.  No more bulky than a sweater.  Yes, it’s an extra piece of clothing, but it’s sooo much less bulky than the winter topcoat, and you won’t be confused with a Siberian prison guard.  These vests are everywhere and cheap.  I have one from Lands End, but am on the prowl for another.

Now the super cold and pounds of falling flakes may still call for the dreaded 10-pound overcoat, but at least that will be a rare occasion.

Thoughts?  Give it a try and share your experiences here.

Miracle skivvies – the Holy Grail of underwear

In the wake of Thanksgiving, I am so very thankful for moisture removing underwear.  Have we ever been so comfortable?   How thankful would the pilgrims have been, experiencing the breakthrough in underpants technology over the last few years?  (I couldn’t imagine wearing those coarsely woven linens and wools).  Under Armour, compression material, modern polyesters and next generation cottons.  We live in amazing times.

So, I’m on Facebook the other day, skipping through pictures of pets from long ago friends to find sarcastic witty retro postcards that enrich my day.  A well-placed ad of to the right catches my eye, “MACK WELDON  – FOR DAILY WEAR”.  It was a sharp looking logo, so I clicked it.

Mack Weldon sells 4 things: Underpants, undershirts, socks and T-Shirts.  They claim “Cool zones” where you need it, better fits and softer material.  The soft selection of colors and shades really look good too.  With underpants starting at $19.50 and a pair of socks at $12.50, it’s a little pricey, but I am intrigued (I must admit I’ve paid more for both in the past).  I order 1 pair of trunks, 1 pair of socks, and 1 undershirt for $66 (free shipping, but no discounts until you spend over $100.  I searched for promo codes with no luck).  I also tried to find a place to buy retail, but they only seem to buy direct at this time.

The one-size-fits-all socks are comfortable, not too tight, warm, but not too thick, and look good.  I could go for more colors though.  Also, I don’t have giant calves, but would love to see a sock that widens as it goes up.  These aren’t tight by any means.  They are similar to every other sock on the calf in the marketplace.  I just have to believe, there are guys with bigger calves than me.  Wouldn’t they find a reverse tapered sock comfortable too?

The material lives up to the hype.  The underpants fit great and feel even better.  Although I haven’t pushed my body to maximum temp, I haven’t felt sultry down in the “cool zones”.  They really are soft and several notches above my previous faves.  They currently sit at the top of my underpants heap as my new go-to pair.

The fitted undershirt is actually fitted.  Everyone uses the word “fitted”, but they still leave lots of extra material.  It’s tight, but not compression tight – similar feel to the underpants.  I like it a lot!

I like what I see, and I’ll look for a sale and buy more.

but as always, the search continues for the perfect skivvies…

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Wardrobe in Transition – Black Friday Score!!!

My closet is tight.  Not just tight, as in stylish and cool.  Tight meaning there’s lots of clothes crammed in.  Recently realizing this, I am more selective with what I buy.  I don’t hit every sale and try to reserve my dollars for the truly special pieces and exceptional sales.

The Black Friday marketing machine had its sights on me and definitely grabbed my attention.  After a recent custom fitted FAIL (post coming soon), I zeroed in on a two national branded stores Banana Republic and H&M.  BP always has sales and H&M is always cheap.  My goal was twofold – to find perfectly fitted pants and really squeeze the price.

I’ve been swapping out my previously-cool flat front pants from a few years ago for the recent style shift to lower waists and tighter hips.  BP was a little late on this, but their current offerings seem there.  I’ve had my eye on the Tailored Slim Camel Striped Wool Trouser at $108, but I’ve been waiting, stalking for the right coupon.  The 40% off Entire Purchase Black Friday Special was it.  I like ordering on-line, but I needed to try them on.  To quote Liam Neeson/Ottway from The Grey, “One more time, into the fray.”

Fast-forward through the traffic, parking, crowds, etc.  I have a nice lunch and a fabulous Blue Point Pale Ale (Long Island, NY).  I’m ready to shop.

H&M was not for me on this day.  The stuff with the big sales did not fit like I wanted and I was determined to not further cram my closet with impulse buys.

On to BP.  I see my target and sift through the size tags.  After double-checking all 12 pairs, my nemesis kicks in – they don’t have my size.  KAHN!!!!!!  I shift into problem solving mode – find a different color in my size.  I’ll then order online.  Then, a Black Friday Miracle – around the corner, 6 more pairs of the Camel Stripe.  Score!  Positive thinking always pays off.  I grab my size and head for the changing room.  On the way, I peruse the clearance rack….

SCORE!!!!!  A Tailored Slim pair in my size in a charcoal/brown – a color on my acquisition list.  They are also 40% off and only $28!

Out of the dressing room, two thumbs from me, and confirmed by the doll-of-a-dressing-room-attendant.  Both pairs look awesome, and will wear both to work this week.  Now that I know the BP Tailored Slim are a win, I’ll have no issue ordering on-line in the future (with an aggressive promo code, of course).   We’ll see what Cyber Monday brings…

Trending: Death to “Garanimals”

It’s so easy.  Like paint-by-numbers, Ramen noodles, and cameras on phones – the simplicity has made it easy for us.  Match a blue striped tie with a blue shirt.  Pair a solid green tie with the green stripes in a shirt.  And sport the ever-so-bold solid yellow tie and solid yellow shirt.  We guys could do this.  We didn’t need to be Clinton Kelly, Deon Sanders or Cee Lo Green.   We could pull this off.  Macys, Express, and every store with their prominent displays helped us buy.   Our girls would bring us these perfectly paired gifts, and we liked them.  We understood how to match.

However men, we have evolved (and we’re no longer 4).

It’s not as hard as it seems.  Mix colors.  Mix Fabrics.  Even mix patters.  It’s that simple.  What’s important is that they compliment each other.  Said simply, contrast is complimentary.

  • Example 1:  small stripes on a tie won’t go well with small stripes on a shirt.  But those small stripes will go with checks.
  • Example 2:  pair yellow with blue, green with orange, black with pink (this one is endless…)
  • Example 3: A tie other than silk – these are designed to contrast and compliment

If you don’t start mixing and matching, you’re going to soon be “You know who”.  You know “you know who”.  The one who still wears the ten-year-old pleated pants and comfortable shoes.  He wears full turtlenecks, not mocks.  The guy who thinks he looks nice and with it, but hasn’t received a woman’s compliment on an outfit since the half-life of said pants and turtle.  The guy…..you get it.  (If you don’t believe me, GQ’s 2012 Fall Style Playbook says so too!).

If anyone questions your choice, just say with confidence, “Garanimals are dead.  Contrast is in.  Get with it!”

DISCLAIMER – In no way shape or form does Homerstyle wish harm to Garan Inc. (owner of Garanimals), childrens’ clothing or animals (with the exception of the chipmunks that keep trying to break into my attic to fornicate and breed).  It is a brilliant outfit selection solution (for 4-year-olds).