World of Avallone - Men's Fashion & Lifestyle

Thom Browne - Why He Loves Slim Suits and Hates Fast Fashion April 09 2016

A Q&A with one of menswear's modern masters.​

It's difficult to overstate Thom Browne's influence on modern menswear. That slim suit you love so much, with the trousers hemmed so they just barely graze the top of your shoes? That probably wouldn't exist without Browne, who ushered in a tailoring revolution about a decade-and-a-half ago with his cropped, close-to-the-body suits and jackets. And though he started out on a shoestring—due to budget constraints, his first "collection" was just five suits that he had made for himself—the New York-based designer is now one of the more powerful forces in men's fashion, as admired for his slightly subversive runway collections as he is for his classic approach to tailored clothing. 

For spring and fall 2016, he's teamed up with Woolmark to create a capsule collection that falls on the latter end of that spectrum: traditional(ish) tailoring made from the company's lightweightCool Wool, which should have the suit-wearing public feeling pretty good about life when things heat up outside. We caught up with Browne to talk about how the partnership came together, what it feels like to be the man who helped launch the slim suiting trend, and why he hates fast fashion. 

Esquire.com: You've teamed up with Woolmark in a bigger way for spring and fall 2016, but you've been working with them for a while. How did that relationship start?  

Thom Browne: They're very supportive of young designers; that's how it initially started back in 2006 and 2007. The relationship has gone on for this long and will go on because of their attention to making beautiful fabrics. [The current collection] was very easy, because I use so much of their fabrics as-is. It wasn't something that I had to consciously really think about; we just positioned certain items and looks within our collection as special to Woolmark.

 

How did you decide on the specific pieces?

I wanted to make sure the items were iconic to my collection. Things that, when people saw them, were true to who I am as a designer. So staying more towards the classic pieces: a navy sport coat, a Prince of Wales suit.

Would you say they're seasonal pieces, or more year-round? 

Definitely year-round—that's the way the world is now, and the way that you have to approach collections. There are so many collections per year. There are four that I do for men's: two pre-collections and two collections. The deliveries in stores sometimes don't match the seasons, so you have to design into almost a yearly season as opposed to a fall and spring season nowadays. 

I actually wanted to ask you about that increased pace and having more collections now than we used to. You didn't do pre-collections in the early years.

No. I've been doing the pre-collections for about two years. 

How does that kind of pace affect things? You see designers lamenting it, leaving big design houses—is this something that the industry can't sustain? Or do you like having more opportunities to explore your ideas? 

I think everybody should approach it his or her own way. It is added work, and the schedule is relentless: It's basically a yearly schedule, and it's not like you get time off. You don't have to do pre-collections, but if you want to grow a business, you do have to approach it in a way that puts things in stores for the customers. So to have new product going into stores fairly regularly is important—not only for the customer, but also for the stores to have a little bit longer time to sell the product. I like it, but also my collections and pre-collections relate to each other. It's not like they're totally schizophrenic, and when they're both on the floor at the same time they do live together. Ultimately it's more of an opportunity to get your product in front of people. So I've embraced it and I know that it's worthwhile, but everyone has to approach it his or her own way.

Speaking of approaching things in your own way: You're known for a slim, cropped cut. When you first introduced that to the marketplace, a lot of people followed suit, and menswear in general has been slimmer and shorter for a while. But now it seems like things are shifting to be a little longer and looser. Do you look at that and think about changing your aesthetic?

I mean, this is me, and I will always do this. It was never a trend; it was always a timeless approach to how I like the proportion of the jacket and trousers. So this is always going to be what I give to my customer. Every season, of course, I do play with proportion within the collections themselves, but the classic way of how I approach my tailoring is always going to be the same. 

What is it about that look that you find so compelling?

I just like the proportions. It's a personal thing to me and it's something that's timeless. The use of that proportion is more specific in how I wear it; but in the more classic things that I do, the proportion doesn't change—it's just not as severe as how I wear it. There is a more classic way of wearing it and I have a lot of customers who have it tailored for wearing it to work or an event. As long as the proportion doesn't change in regards to the lines of the jacket and trouser, there are a lot of ways to interpret it. 

 

What does it feel like to be on the leading edge of something that becomes such a major trend? When you saw that shift in tailored clothing years ago, did you ever have a moment where you said, "Yeah, I caused that a little bit"? 

It really comes down to it being nice to see that you're doing something that people recognize. I set out at the beginning to make sure that I did something that was somewhat important and that people did recognize, but it's not like I sat back and had a brand plan on changing the world of tailoring. It's something that I just wanted myself, and I knew that it was different from what other people were doing and what other people wanted. And when you do something that personal, I think there is a reason why people will at least look at it, and hopefully understand why you're doing it. 

Did you ever find it difficult, when the market was saturated with those slimmer and shorter designs, to stand out in that landscape? 

No. Because it was always mine. 

Do you pay attention to the rest of the market or do you try to stay mostly in your own world when it comes to design? 

I am the worst when it comes to knowing what's going on. And I consciously don't want to know what's going on, because I think it's a lot easier to stay true to yourself if you just do what you do and focus on that. 

Where do you look for inspiration, if not in fashion? 

Architecture, art, movies, real people, real things. I'm never really influenced by fashion. 

 

 

For the fall 2016 collection, you said that the idea was reinterpreting the idea of a group of men at a gentleman's club. There's a lot of room for interpretation there, so how do you go from that idea to actual execution? 

Well that's only a small bit of the story. The main story is these men in the '20s through the Depression into the '30s, and how they appreciated the clothing that they purchased and had made for themselves in the '20s. And how, through the Depression, their priorities shifted in terms of not being able to afford to buy new clothes—how they loved the clothes that they had, and really wore them and really appreciated them. And they were so beautifully made that they still could wear them, and the way that the clothes aged made them even more beautiful sometimes than when they were new. So the story is really more of the appreciation of really well-made clothes, not really that these guys are part of a gentleman's club; that's just where I placed them. 

That feels very prescient in this day and age, especially considering the influence of fast fashion. Is that something you were thinking about specifically? 

No, but I wish I did. [Laughs.] Because I can't stand the world of fast fashion. I wish people would spend money on more important things than the disposable clothing you get in those retailers. 

When you say more important things, are you talking about better-made clothes? Experiences? A combination? 

Experiences, better-made clothing, maybe contributing money to worthy charities—something that's a lot longer-lasting than a T-shirt that's going to disintegrate in a week. 

-From Esquire April 2016


12 Timeless, Easy-to-Wear Watches with Brown Leather Bands April 01 2016

These stylish timepieces will last you a lifetime.

watches with brown leather bands

You can slap a caramel-colored strap on most timepieces. But these are the ones—from sporty to sophisticated—that come with one in place, and are all available to buy online now. Get going, since they'll only get better with age.

 

TIMEX

Men's Brown Leather Watches

With an off-white face and great numerical details, the Intelligent Quartz Fly-Back Chronograph is far from your father's Timex.

$120, timex.com

 

FOSSIL

Men's Brown Leather Watches

The Chronograph Grant Lightstraddles the line between casual and classy with a blue dial and silver-tone Roman numerals.

$145, macys.com

BULOVA

Men's Brown Leather Watches

At this price, the Accutron II offers a lot of elegance for your buck. Yellow gold and brown leather never felt so right.

$499, bulova.com

MOVADO

Men's Brown Leather Watches

Minimalists take note: The Movado Bold Watch—with its unadorned gunmetal dial and brown Colorado bullhide strap—might just be for you.

$595, movado.com

MONTBLANC

Men's Brown Leather Watches

At a glance, the Star Date Watch may look simple, but it's full of subtle details including a grained calfskin strap and a guilloché spiral pattern on its silvery-white dial.

$1,775, montblanc.com

TUDOR

Men's Brown Leather Watches

Inspired by the Oyster Prince Ranger from the 1960s, the Heritage Ranger features the same luminous Arabic numerals at 3, 6, 9, and 12 o'clock as the original—along with an updated leather strap.

$2,825, tudorwatch.com

TAG HEUER

Men's Brown Leather Watches

The brown alligator and stainless steel details on the Carrera are so timeless that you'll want to pass this one on to your son one day.

$2,900, tourneau.com

BELL & ROSS

Men's Brown Leather Watches

Go ahead and beat up the BR 123 Golden Heritage Watch a little. The whole thing will only get better with age.

$3,500, bellross.com

LONGINES

Men's Brown Leather Watches

Updated with a Hodinkee faded brown calfskin strap, this vintage Longines Calatrava from the 1940s is in great working order considering it's about 70 years old.

$5,300, hodinkee.com

OMEGA

While Omega Speedmasters were part of all six lunar missions, the brown leather strap on the Speedmaster '57 Co-Axial Chronograph is way better looking than the Velcro straps worn by the astronauts.

$8,900, omegawatches.com

CARTIER

If she gets a Birkin bag, you deserve aTank Louis Watch from Cartier with a brown alligator-skin strap.

$14,100, cartier.com

ROLEX

This 18kt white gold Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona Watch may seem crazy expensive, but when you consider that it's marked down from $21,850, it's actually quite a deal.

$17,917, jomashop.com


What That Little Pocket on Your Jeans Is Actually For February 01 2016

Occasionally, we find an answer to one of life's constant questions, and everybody pretty much loses it. Today's revelation has to do with jeans. Specifically that little pocket on them. You know, the one that doesn't really function as a pocket because it's so tiny, and which is actually located in a real pocket, but which nonetheless is technically a pocket in and of itself.

It seems some particularly curious forum users couldn't live in a world where that pocket's function remained unknown, so they have gone and discovered its use. The tiny little pocket inside a pocket is actually for watches, designed for cowboys in the 1800s. But since we are in 2016 and we are, for the most part, not cowboys, these pockets have taken on new uses.

As it says on the Levi Strauss website, "Originally included as protection for pocket watches, thus the name, this extra pouch has served many functions, evident in its many titles: frontier pocket, condom pocket, coin pocket, match pocket, and ticket pocket, to name a few."

Match pocket has a nice ring to it.


5 Fashion Forward Designer Sunglasses Brands November 12 2015

Sunglasses are an essential summer fashion accessory for both men and women to protect the eyes from the sun’s harmful rays and are recommended by healthcare professionals. However, just because they are good for the health of your eyes, doesn’t mean that sunglasses don’t have to look good and be fashionable – in fact, quite the opposite. We’ve put together a list of five of the best fashion forward sunglass brands.

Oakley

Based in Foothill Ranch, California, Oakley is a brand which specialises mainly in sporting equipment, however it also manufactures some lifestyle accessories including sunglasses. Oakley’s sunglasses have been considered the best in the world, and have an attractive look and design as well as being manufactured by taking into consideration the tough conditions that many sportspeople face. Oakley provides luxury sunglasses that do not compromise on protection from the elements when you need it most.

Ray Ban

Ray Ban is one of the most popular and well-known brand of sunglasses, and was founded in 1937 by American company Bausch & Lomb. Best known for their Aviator and Wayfarer styles of sunglasses, Ray Ban offers a wide range of specifications with respect to design, lenses, material and style. Thanks to high quality materials and a high standard of manufacturing, Ray Ban sunglasses are super durable. Ray Ban are often considered one of the more affordable brands of sunglasses, however they are also popular with a number of famous celebrities as well as the general public.

Fendi

One of the best multinational sunglass brands for men and women, Fendi products can be easily distinguished thanks to the undoubted Italian style and grace. The Italian fashion house offers an esteemed collection of designer sunglass styles, which are popular with celebrities thanks to high sophistication and a luxury look and feel. The design of Fendi sunglasses aims to astound and mesmerise, and they are a high-end choice of accessory which are loved by many celebrities around the world.

Gucci

Owned by French company Kering and headquartered in Florence, Italy, Gucci has several different product lines including fashion and leather goods, however its sunglasses have become one of the most popular and sought after sunglass brands in the world. This is thanks to the innovative and luxury designs that they offer along with a high standard of manufacture which makes the sunglasses long-lasting and durable.

Prada

Founded by Mario Prada in 1913 and based in Milan, Italy, Prada is another luxury Italian fashion house that quickly took the lead with its high esteemed collection of products which offer luxury and sophistication. Prada’s sunglasses are highly popular products with both men and women and can often be seen worn by a number of A-list celebrities, thanks to their exceptional and elegant design. For those who love to have fashionable products that feature both current trends and quality, Prada is a popular brand.

If you’re looking to bag yourself a pair of fashionable designer sunglasses, why not check out some of the amazing bargains at Red Hot Sunglasses.


Dressed to Kill: Exploring James Bond's Classic Style November 04 2015

Esquire fashion director Nick Sullivan explains how 007 pulls it all together.

At once modern and timeless, 007 is the personification of straightforward elegance, with no room for unnecessary details. He is simply Bond: cool under pressure, at home in any situation, and always the best-dressed man in the room.

Whether turned out in a shawl-collar tux at the baccarat tables or dressed down in tweeds, Bond accepts nothing but the very best. Everything fits perfectly into Bond's world; there's no room for the superfluous. His weapon is reliable, his Aston Martin is fast, his suit is impeccable, and his Belvedere martini is simple. ​

Bond doesn't demand attention; on the contrary, he eludes the public gaze. It's part of the job. But when the focus lands on him, every detail conveys vigor and resolve. The creases are sharp. The tailoring is precise. The cufflinks gleam in the dim light. He is the secret tower of strength in the room. And he's always in his element.

The modern man can take a cue from one of the most stylish icons in menswear: Keep it simple. Choose the classics, and have them cut to fit. We never see his tailor, but we know Bond must visit Savile Row. A double-breasted overcoat, a single-breasted two-button suit, a crisp shirt with a knitted silk tie, and cap-toe oxfords. Nothing flashy. Everything to its purpose. That's 007.

-from Esquire Mag.


What Happened When I Dressed Like a Priest August 26 2015

An investigation into the power of the uniform. 

tom chiarella paper dolls

I was a priest, standing at the bar of the Billy Goat Tavern beneath the great concrete decks that brace up downtown Chicago. Strike that. I was not a priest. I shouldn't say that. I was me, me wearing the uniform of a priest. It was 10:30 on a Friday morning, the bar a well-lit temple of Formica. I was visiting my favorite bartender, as is my wont when I am in Chicago. Priest or no: My uniform was an old-school liturgical cassock. Twenty buttons rising to a traditional clerical collar. Part tunic, part Nehru jacket, with a big open flare at my feet. That thing really kicked up in the wind when I walked the city. The thing really had some sweep.

When I walked in, my friend immediately set me up with a no-disrespect-intended pour of bourbon, with a draft beer back. My shoulders were turned to the half-full restaurant; a small circle of recent acquaintances screened me. I'd like to say I was mindful of being the most visible man in the room—me, the priest—but who was I kidding? People had been staring at me for twenty-three blocks. One hour in the uniform and I knew this much: On a bright summer's day, in a sprawling city, a priest in a cassock is a thing to behold. People draw out their eye contact with a priest. They give nods or bow just a smidge. Or they stare. Openly. Respectfully. Distantly. When walking in pairs, men wind up their cheeriest selves to blurt out suddenly, "Good morning, Father." A habit learned in high school, revisited gladly. Twenty-three blocks and the world could not take its eyes off me. A priest, striding north.

And so, in a what-the-hell moment, I lifted the glass, nodded to Jeff the barkeep, and took that long good swallow. Only as I put the glass back in its ringlet of condensation did I notice a woman who'd maneuvered herself to some pass-through window, filming the whole thing on her phone. "You're going to be on the Internet before you eat lunch," said the barfly to my left without looking up, adding, "Father."

I picked up the beer, took a sip, and told him, "I'm not a priest." He turned, narrowed his eyes, gave me a lazy up-and-down. "What is this, then?" he said. He meant the frock.

"It's a uniform," I said. That was true. This was always my plan. Be honest. And that seemed to be enough, because he went back to his box scores. A couple minutes later, he said, "One thing's for certain, some priest, somewhere, is going to get in trouble for that."

***

I have no uniform. Most of the time, I work alone or in conversations across tables in some restaurant in some unfamiliar city. At my most exposed, I stand in front of a classroom of twenty-one-year-olds. Unless you count a track jacket, a T-shirt, and a pair of overly expensive jeans as a uniform, I have no dress requirements. Sometimes I wear a blazer. I have a really nice blue shirt when I want to wear one. My choice.

This is a ho-hum freedom, earned in some societal shift located broadly in one or another populist surge last century. People see it as a kind of liberation. We are individuals, after all. We are not automatons or drones. We are not our work. And so on.

But a great many people put on a uniform for work every day. I'll admit that I've often longed to wear a uniform, one that demanded something from me and maybe from the world around me. A good uniform represents. It makes sure you show up. It suggests a simplicity of mission. Once you slip it on, any uniform calls for its own posture. Everyone reacts. They step aside, shoot knowing glances, make room for you; or they turn away, try to forget their foggy prejudices, and ignore you.

So I bought four uniforms, modified them using the advice of people who wear them for real, and wore each one for a full day to test the reaction. A priest, a security guard, a mechanic, and a doctor. I stitched my name on—first, last, or both when appropriate. But I didn't forge a thing. No fake lanyards, no ID cards, no crucifix, no rosary in hand. The idea wasn't to trick people. I wasn't pulling a con or even acting very much. I wasn't trying to get anything: no free entry, no cuts to the front of the line, no undue respect. I issued no false blessings, gave no advice, made no diagnoses.

tom chiarella as a pirest
Tom Chiarella as a Priest

I bought my priest outfit at a religious-wardrobe store just west of Canaryville on the South Side of Chicago. At first I tried on clerical shirts, all black, with the familiar collar. Both long-sleeved and short. I wanted to look like the Jesuit priests who'd taught me how to write. All business with the comings and goings, a little tired, utterly content to forget the annoyance of deciding what to wear every morning.

The salesclerk was a former Dominican priest. There is fashion among the priests, he said. It's rare for an American priest to wear a cassock outside the church. But, he said, it's becoming more common: "It used to be considered a little vain. But you go to the seminary now and young priests insist on the cassock. They're more conservative and they want to be seen as committed."

He thought I could pass. "Just look like you're going somewhere on church business."

At that, the third-generation owner of the store stepped out of her office to tell me that she disagreed. "No priest would wear that in public."

"Just tell them you're Greek," the salesclerk said. "You look Greek enough."

Generally, when you wear a uniform, no one will touch you. Except the priest. People will touch a priest. On the wrist mostly. It happened to me twelve times, just a tap in the middle of a conversation. An assertion of connection, an acknowledgment of some commonality I could not fathom. Weirdly, the priest's outfit was the most physically demanding uniform to wear. All day with the hugging, and the kneeling to speak to children, and the leaning in for the selfies.

I suppose it is sacrilegious to say this—though I'm obviously way past caring about that now—but sweeping the city with the hem of my cassock hither and yon was more like being a beautiful woman than it was representing myself as a celibate guy who lives in a two-room apartment in Hyde Park. I'm telling you: People lingered in their gaze, without lust. I was a fascination, looked at fondly so many times that fondness itself seemed the currency of the world to me. It made me like the world better.

In front of a diner, an old woman seized my wrist firmly and pulled me in for a question. Oh, boy, I thought. Serious business. I prepared to deliver the news that it was just a uniform. "Father," she said earnestly. "Are you Greek Orthodox?" I told her I was not. The truth is easy enough when you're in uniform. Before I could say anything, she released my arm, scowled, and cast me off. "You are Russian! Ugh!" She turned and shouted to me from twenty paces, held up a finger like the curse it surely was. "You are Russian. Russian!" she said, rolling the R as she retreated. "Russian!" she shouted up the street.

No one asked my name. No one called me Father Tom. But that's what the uniform made me. People want to believe.

Especially people in need. All day long, I was faced with homeless men, homeless families, crouched in the street. Sometimes they reached up to me, touched my wrist. Twice I was asked for a blessing that I could not give. Not in the way they wanted. I started wishing that I were capable of performing a service for the world. And I found I could not do nothing. The uniform comes with some responsibility; otherwise, it is just a party costume. I started kneeling down, holding out a ten-dollar bill, and saying, "I'm not a priest. But I feel you." And I couldn't do it once without doing it a couple dozen times. Chicago is a big city, with a lot of souls stuck in its doorways. It still makes me sadder than I could have imagined.

It's easy to put on a cassock. And it's really not easy to wear one at all.

Late that afternoon, I stood across from the Tribune building as Father Tom and watched a loud and lousy sleight-of-hand magician working a trick involving a signed twenty-dollar bill and a lemon. I stood off to the side, hands clasped behind my back, trying to look ponderously unthreatened by magic. And then I saw the magician's move very clearly, the very moment he jams the rolled-up twenty into the lemon. Just like that. Busted. For a moment, I thought it might be the mind-set of a priest taking over. Or maybe he wanted the priest to see, because he winked at me a second later. And suddenly, for the rest of his routine, he called on me, to bear him out, to provide faith, to witness the machinations. Questions like "That seems honest enough—right, Father?" And could I back him up on this? The request to weigh in as the conscience of the moment really wore on me. Finally, I turned and walked away. "Father," he called out. "Don't leave. Only you know the truth! You're the most trusted man here!" Too much subtext. Exhausted, Father Tom walked to a food cart, bought a tamale, and waved to a tour bus that honked at him. They waved back, too. Both decks.

Tom Chiarella as a security guard

Tom Chiarella as a Security Guard

If it's true that everyone likes to look at a priest, then let me tell you that no one likes to look at a security guard. Especially not a geeked-up security enthusiast like Tom Chiarella, Security Officer. Not even other security guards. There is no brotherhood of the law among guys who mostly watch a crowd and ask people not to sit on the stairs in front of a museum. People avert their eyes, stare at the horizon.

When I told my friend, a longtime cop, that I was going to be wearing the uniform of a security guard and asked if he'd help me think out ways to make it look more authentic, he had a question: "Are you gonna be one of those happy guys? Or are you going to be, I don't know, that other kind?" At the time, we were going through containers of defunct equipment in a police-department storeroom, looking for spare parts. I wanted Tom Chiarella, Security Officer, to care about the details.

"In my experience, some security guys put on the uniform and it makes them," my friend said, "and then they have a certain way they carry themselves. You've seen it. It's a military posture. They stand up into the job. They get squared up. The uniform squares them up. They look so happy. Happy guys. And there is the other kind. They get into the very same outfit and the whole thing looks permanently sloppy, and they can't do anything about it. Not ever. The first guy, he listens. He's the one I'd use. The other kind, you look right at them and you know they might as well work at Taco Bell."

Tom Chiarella, Security Officer, was the first kind. The happy guy. Not ebulliently happy, but happy inside the obligation of the uniform. I stayed quiet, hid behind a pair of dark glasses, carried many things on my belt: handcuffs, a 2400-lumen flashlight, a pair of plastic gloves for evidence collection, a radio and a corded handset, a completely redundant earpiece, a can of Mace, a notepad and a penholder. So many leather pouches. My friend had warned me to match them up carefully. If one pouch was braided leather, they all had to be. "It matters," he'd said. "If you don't match up, people will start to wonder. You'll see. People look at you. In a way, even as a security guard, you are the law. You need to have it together. People do a check down on you. They check out your stuff. You don't have a gun. So they'll look even harder at what you do have."

"I'm just security," I said. "Not police."

"Law," my friend said. "They represent the law. That's what they teach them. You represent. You can't say you're a cop. But you can look like the law matters."

I could represent. So I paid to emblazon every surface of the uniform I set up—jacket, hat, shirt, badge—with the word Security. I bought and had fitted my first-ever pair of double-knit pants. I tucked in, buckled up, and made an orderly appearance.

On the campus of DePaul University, people asked if I was with the university. Near a hospital, I was asked? if I worked for the clinic or the theater across the street. I told the truth. Neither. Nothing more. Somehow people accepted the nothingness of my answers as if they were answer enough. No one ever followed up. The uniform made me feel terse. Not tense. Terse. Abbreviated. Interfacing with the world, as Tom Chiarella, Security Officer, liked to call it, was an occasional occupational obligation.

I just went places. Breakfast joints. Yawning retail spaces. It was the same everywhere I went—people treated me like part of the background. I stood for forty-five minutes in an Anthropologie store in a mall in the Loop, my arms folded across my chest, hips swaying, sunglasses on. No one talked to me, so I drifted into a way of thinking that I associated with the uniform. I watched my six. I kept my head on a swivel. I checked flanking positions, though I really wasn't certain what that meant. Not one clerk or salesperson asked me if I needed help. Why would they? The posture and the uniform asserted that I belonged. Belonged to the mall. I didn't have to speak in my job, so I was not spoken to.

At one point, I hitched my belt and went out to look for a restroom. A janitor was mopping when I got there. I told him I could wait. He didn't even seem to hear me. He spoke to me as if we saw each other daily. "It's slow today," he said. I looked around, nodded. Then he said, "Yesterday, with the rain … "

"… Things were slow," I said, thinking I was agreeing with him. He looked at me then like he'd been stung by a bee.

"No. Yesterday was crazy in here, remember?" he said. "The rain drives them inside, right?"

"I wasn't here," I said. Again, the truth. The day before, I'd walked as Father Tom.

"Yeah," he said. "You were off yesterday. I didn't see you at all yesterday." Then he waved me through to the urinals. He had zip-up overalls, name stitched on the pocket.

I returned to Anthropologie, to my self-claimed post near the rack of semitropical cotton blouses, again not drawing a glance. Soon I got restless. It was a big getup. A lot of work to put together, and to wear. The sight of me drew no reaction. I could have done an eight-hour shift without comment from the world around me or the women who worked there. The security officer fit only in the background. Sometimes the uniform simply fits the place so well that people who should know better don't give you any thought at all. On the street, amid the hubbub, the priest occupied the foreground. People wanted something from him. The security guard? Backgrounded. He and his uniform became just another furnishing. Nobody wanted anything from Tom Chiarella, Security Officer. Except directions. People get turned around in that city.

I bought a vintage patch on eBay—it read JOHNNY ANTONELLI TIRE CO. INC., an out-of-business tire retailer from my childhood in Rochester, New York. I affixed it to the left side of a blue zip-up jumpsuit I'd purchased at a tractor-supply store and had my name stitched on the other side. I put it on and walked. So I was a tire guy, Tom, who worked at a shop so small that most people assumed they'd never heard of it.

And though it's not fair to any tire guy anywhere … no one cared. The uniform didn't register. I never got so much as eye contact, except from a student nurse sitting at a table at an Italian grocery on Randolph Street. I was waiting in line. "Is that a Wall Street Journal?" she asked, referring to the hotel newspaper that I'd folded up and stuck in my back pocket like a racing form. It felt like she was picking on me.

Only anachronisms got even a vague reaction. I hailed a cab with a torque wrench, walked blocks dangling a Twix bar from my fingers, carried a half-dozen roses, sat on a city bus reading 50 Poems by e. e. cummings. It started to feel like I was jumping up and down, asking to be seen. No one saw me. I gave up and went to a movie.

Tom Chiarella as a doctor

Tom Chiarella as a Doctor

Finally, I became a doctor. I bought a pair of scrubs, got them fitted, and had my name stitched on yet again, this time over a logo that read DEPAUW UNIVERSITY, the name of the Indiana college where I am a faculty member. I knew that with a quick glance most people would mistake it for DePaul.

Since basically everyone wears scrubs at a hospital—nurse, orderly, X-ray technician—I had to find a way to convey that I was a doctor. I tried a lab coat, even put my name on it, but I could see that made me look more lab tech than cardiologist. I needed something better, so I sat in a hospital beforehand and watched the foot traffic of doctors and med students. The doctors moved with a chronic urgency. And they unfailingly stared into their phones and tablets distractedly, or carried clipboards or stopped to flip pages rapidly. They seemed to spend significant time looking into the guts of a problem, blocking out the world around them, a perceptible purpose and direction to every step. Slow or fast, the doctors seemed to be moving from one situation to another by social contract.

I started with that. Walking, north. But I walked fast and stopped only to look into my phone or flip pages on my clipboard. I looked up the street anxiously. I pictured the destination dimly to the north and manufactured a problem that demanded I get there now. I wanted people to think: This guy doesn't even have time to hail a cab. Somebody needs him.

He's got to be a doctor.

And, you know, the world gives way to a doctor. People step aside, cabbies wave you through intersections. Before long I started to really sweat, ducked into a restaurant to pick up a little AC action. Almost as soon as I was inside, the urgency subsided. This would not stand. So as the hostess approached, I held up my finger. "Hold on one second," I said, and then I stared into my phone, perhaps at some test results that had just come in. I decided to just stare, to see how long the routine could last. Minutes passed. Eventually I pretended to scroll down, using two fingers rather than one on the touch screen. I thought this was a nice touch, rife with verisimilitude. When the hostess approached again, I interrupted her and took a shallow half step back. "Just one sec," I said without looking up, knowing full well that I risked being the rude doctor now.

But she said, "Of course, of course. We just wanted to know: Do you need a glass of water?" She didn't even consider me a customer anymore. I was just a doctor who needed a place to work.

I went to the next block, stepped into a sporting-goods store, and did it again. Asked for forbearance and a little space, looked into a problem. Then a bank, a waxing salon, a shoe warehouse, a veterinary clinic. People made room. Room for responsibility. A little space to help. They offered me a seat. When people asked me where I was headed, I just hooked a thumb over my shoulder, to the north—true!—and then looked back into my phone.

Sometimes they even knew where I was headed. Right through the haze of my vagaries. "I know. The breast clinic. On Diversey, right? You need to be closer to the lake!" And I'd thank them. They offered to get me an Uber. Or a bottle of water. I didn't feel like a liar, or a lying doctor. I felt like they were seeing into a doctor's life and I was seeing into the city.

In a dank basement bar called the Manhole, where they were playing thumping dubstep at 4:30 in the afternoon in preparation for a lube-wrestling event, I breezed past the bouncer and asked the shirtless, leather-pantsed bartender for half a beer. "Because," I said, distractedly indicating the scrubs, the life, the predicament implied. Then I hooked the thumb northward. "Well, you know …" And he really did know. Half a beer. Cold, too.

Past Wrigley Field, at an empty skating rink, the janitor offered me his phone when he saw mine die. "You shouldn't be without a phone," he said. At a mattress warehouse, I was offered a seat on the closest bed to the door. Five minutes I sat there before I took a deep breath and leaned back. I actually lay down. I was exhausted. Then I popped up and apologized. "Perfectly okay," the salesman said. "Happens all the time. As you might imagine." He paused. "Well, not with a doctor. That's never happened before." Bam. He said doctor.

The world wants to help a doctor. The uniform conveys a responsibility that people are willing to share. They took little bits from the priest, and ignored the security guard, and didn't bother to see the mechanic, but they gave to the doctor. Ceaselessly and for many city blocks.

***

The only time I really wore a uniform to work was when I was twenty-four and waiting tables at a Mexican restaurant called Cucos, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I dreaded the idea of wearing a uniform then. And that uniform—such as it was—consisted of a blue knit polo shirt and an apron that I picked up every night off a hook in a broom closet. No logo, no stitched-on name. The manager, a redhead whose name I can't remember, pulled the shirt from a cabinet in her office, threw it to me, and said, "This is the best I can do right now." The shirt was tiny, two sizes short of what I needed. I told her it wouldn't fit. Then she looked from the shirt in my hands to my face and said, "So leave it on the desk. I'll give it to the next person who walks in here looking for a job." I huffed some lame apology, but she stated again, "This is all I have for you."

Just then I didn't matter one bit. I'd never done a damn thing for her and still she had handed me a uniform. A job. So yes, the shirt mattered more than the man. I understood the deal.

That week, I pulled that miserable shirt over my frame like a tube sock four times before I banked enough tips to pay the day-shift bartender twenty bucks for his spare blue shirt. He was a big guy, two sizes larger than me. And so it was that I came to have two uniforms for work. Impossibly small and implausibly big. Every day I had to choose: pantyhose or circus tent.

I quickly learned that no one else noticed. No snickers, no comments. The blue shirt was all that mattered. Me—my body, my corporeal self—I didn't register one bit, so long as I refilled the chips and delivered the 'ritas while the glasses were still icy. I just had to do my job. The blue shirt was me. Me in that job.

You might find this depersonalizing. Not so. The blue shirt meant I owed the world only what the job demanded, and only for those few hours. I came to relish disappearing into the hectic mechanics of work, into a routine of expectation and ritualized tasks. It turned out I could forget myself for a few hours. I was soon named employee of the month. Twice.

The uniform meant something. And when I left through the same doors into the darkling lot, freed from the grip of Cucos, the uniform suddenly and absolutely meant nothing at all. I took it off in the crook made by the door of my pickup and drove home shirtless. I see now that the uniform itself was liberating. Had I never had it in the first place or shaken it off when I had to, I may never have sensed the power of work and the confining limits of a lousy job.

***

In Chicago, on the night before I was to walk the streets as a priest, I went to a theater fundraising event at Chicago's Soho House. I'd been invited as Tom Chiarella. I attended as Father Tom, the priest. These were my first hours in the cassock. And there, during the fundraising part of the event, two pretty women exposed me.

"You're not a priest," the younger one said. So right out of the gate I was caught, the only time in the four days it happened.

I told them the truth. Then I asked how they knew. "There are a million things," one said. "You have a tattoo on your wrist. Your hair is a bit too long."

"And look at the way you occupy space," said the other. "You get in too close!"

They stared at me as I shifted on my feet. "There are just ways a man of the cloth will stand when he's in the company of women," said the woman who first spoke. "You are simply not standing in that way. You're too close. And you aren't aware of your hips. You're angled wrong."

They went on. No crucifix. I'd sat on a barstool—that would never happen. The cassock was a problem for them. They had never seen one outside the church.

I knew that was a risk. I told them as much. "Besides, it's a tricky thing to wear in public. There are no pockets," I said. "I have to hitch the whole thing up to get to my wallet." I bent a little and started to demonstrate the issue, how I would have to hike up this giant skirt to retrieve five bucks for the valet. Both of them waved me off. "It looks kind of pervy, right?" I said. I asked them if they knew how a priest would have dealt with it.

Neither of them did. "There are some things only a priest would know," one of them said.

They thought I must be an actor. I told them no. Eventually I asked about their faith, since they seemed to know a priest when they saw one. And when they didn't.

They told me, too. I just listened. It seemed like what was called for.

-Published in Esquire August 2015


The 7 Best Looks from Goodfellas May 06 2015

We celebrate the style of Martin Scorsese's gangland epic, in time for this month's release of the 25th-anniversary Blu-ray.


The Point Collar Shirt

This ultra-long and narrow point collar bucks convention and is a total stand-out, especially when paired with a tan jacket and light pink tie—a thoroughly old school look we'd love to see come back into fashion.

The Green Suit
An olive-green sport coat may not be the first thing you think of when flashy mobsters come to mind, but this look makes for a much more distinguished, though no less striking, take on the usual gangland style.

The Open-Collared Shirt


One of Henry Hill's most stylish features is his loose, freewheeling take on high-end menswear. When he wears this wide open-collar on this black casual shirt with a designer suit he achieves maximum gangster panache.

The Casual Blazer


A light linen sport coat in etched gray is the ideal way to suit up through the warmer months. This one in particular, over a crisp white dress shirt, is an excellent take on a summer menswear classic.

The Leather Sport Coat


You've got to hand it to any man bold enough to rock a blazer made of leather, a short-lived trend from the '70s and '80s. Hey, if it's good enough for an aspiring mafia boss ...

The Red Velvet Jacket


Before red velvet was the dessert of choice among hip foodies, it was a distinctive style of jacket—and a pretty spectacular way to stand out while dressing up.

The Camel Coat


The camel coat has long been a staple of the distinguished man's wardrobe, a luxury item that instantly denotes sophistication and refinement.

-From Esquire May 2015


The 7 Most Interesting Things About 'The Most Interesting Man In the World' March 30 2015

You know him as "The Most Interesting Man in the World," or possibly as your favorite carpool buddy, but it turns out that Jonathan Goldsmith, the actor behind the character is actually pretty damn interesting himself. So we got him to check in and tell about all the coolest stuff he's done in real life and we don't think you'll be disappointed.

1. He's Ridding the World of Land Mines With the Mines Advisory Group

"My work with M.A.G and my recent trip to Vietnam with them to help find and detonate landmines made me realize just how much more work still needs to be done and also how many lives have been saved by the organization's valiant work."

2. He Lived On a Boat in LA

"Living aboard my sailboat in Marina Del Rey allowed me to enjoy nature in the middle of a big city with a true sense of tranquility. I also enjoyed the cooler climate, especially in the summertime."

3. He's Down With The Troops

"It was a real pleasure to visit our troops and to see how they enjoyed being reminded of just a touch of home that I could bring them. I'm headed to the USS America aircraft carrier next week to meet more."

4. He's Down With Obama Too

"It was incredible to meet the most powerful man in the free world, both at the White House and at Camp David. He is a charming, humorous, and delightful gentleman."

5. He Saved Someone's Life on Mount Whitney

"One must always be prepared and aware. If they are not, they risk the lives of others getting injured when rescuing them."

6. He Was an Honored Guest at the White House Correspondence Dinner

"I was amazed that in a room full of luminaries including esteemed members of the media, our government's leaders and other celebrities, that everyone treated me as one of them."

7. He's Besties With Richard Branson

"He is one of the most exciting out-of-the-box thinkers of our time, a real forward thinking man. It was a great pleasure getting to know him and working alongside him as well.


The Apple Watch - Will Stylish Men Wear It? March 12 2015

Apple Watch Style Reviews

© Apple

Apple Watch Style Reviews

The Apple Watch Is Nice & All, But Will Stylish Men Wear It?

Apple is hoping its latest hi-tech offering is a high-fashion hit. But will the Apple Watch get more traction than the wearable tech that has preceded it? Or will it become this generation’s novelty, something worn by early adopters and the pocket calculator crowd but not the coveted trendsetter audience? There’s something else at stake with the Apple Watch: Apple’s reputation as a cutting edge company, which has been jeopardized of late by critics who point out that Apple hasn’t introduced any new tech since 2010’s iPad. We asked some of the most fashionable menswear experts if the Apple Watch will be added to the wardrobes of the very best dressed guys.

 

Brian Boye, Executive Fashion Director for Men’s Health, had a first look. “I write about watches for the magazine and interview watchmakers often.Smartwatches have been a source of great debate and agitation in the industry for the past few years, and the people I work with are mostly against the idea. I’m also a watch fanatic and have huge respect for the amount of work that goes into these tiny mechanical masterpieces. But I love new technology too. And I think Apple has done an amazing job at design with their new product. I live and breathe by the apps on my iPhone. Now you’re telling me I can strap that to my wrist? When they introduced it last year I spent a few days asking myself ‘Will I or won’t I?’ I finally landed on ‘Hell yes!’ “I have my eye on the gold model with a navy strap. But that will be just one of the watches I wear during the course of the week. I usually change watches every few days, depending on what I’m doing or who I’m seeing. So when it makes sense to wear the Apple, I will. But trust me, I won’t stop wearing my Breitling Navitimer or Panerai Luminor Marina.”

Score one Apple Watch.

Alexander Sumner, co-founder of Alexander Nash agrees. “There is a movement towards a greater consciousness of the codes of men’s dress and I believe that the Apple Watch masters the intricate connection between fashion and lifestyle. Men are interested in luxury garments for every day.”

“Stylish men seek platforms for creative expression. The Apple Watch does its part to inspire men to dress up. The synthesis of a stylish man and his garb is a fluid one. Being spirited and adventurous, they express themselves without fear and I believe the Apple Watch, being classic and bold with clean lines and interesting details, comes across as unmistakably masculine.”

Bloomberg Style Director Nic Screws will be watching both Apple and traditional watch loyalists.

“I think the Apple Watch will divide the allegiances of a lot of men. So many guys who are luxury enthusiasts, and watch collectors, are also tech-savvy and Apple supporters. Usually, if you’re an Apple guy, you buy into the whole DNA of the brand, and you want to own everything they do. That’s been a lot of Apple’s success: their ability to attract and sustain loyalists. But the same is true about the watch industry; in a lot of cases, they will be competing for the same customer.

Apple wants the guy that owns an IWC Portuguese or an Omega Speedmaster and watch brands want the modern man. But I think the guy that is a little techie and is that middle of the market watch owner (Tag Heuer, Tissot, Sieko) will definitely be a first generation Apple Watch owner. Then there will be men checking it out of pure FOMO. Then the real watch enthusiasts will follow. They’ll wait and see how it performs, maybe even for the second generation to come out, or they’ll splurge on the 18K gold version…as that’s the real investment piece. And ultimately, that’s what attracts the IWC and Omega guy — elite status.”

And speaking of investments, Matt Sebra, Senior Men’s Editor at Gilt.comsays...

“At Gilt, we know that there are two things guys are willing to spend money on: the latest technology and a good looking watch. That said, there is something about the timelessness of a vintage Rolex watch that all the bells and whistles in the world can’t replace.”

But what about being the first and setting the trend?

Skip Brooks from Alex Grant Creative Agency also believes in the power of classics.

 

“As a big Apple fan (dating back to prep school), Apple can do no wrong in my eyes. I’m usually a first generation buyer but I’ll probably take a wait-and-see approach for the Apple Watch. But to be honest, I don’t think the Apple Watch will make a major impact in #menswear because there is still a love of old aesthetics that the new watch can’t duplicate. From getting a vintage Rolex watch from your grandfather to saving up for that Omega that you saw James Bond wear on the big screen, the design of the Apple Watch can’t come close to the timeless aspirational timepieces or the mechanical masterpiece of an automatic watch."

"We now live in a world where people even question the functionality of watches, given the availability and usage of our cell phones. I believe the Apple Watch has a huge mountain to climb in not just the fashion world but with regular consumers. My father once gave a piece of advice in high school that stayed with me after all these years. When I showed him a picture of a luggage brand that started making watches, he replied, ‘Why would you buy a watch from a company that doesn’t make watches?’ Sound advice that applies to almost everything, Apple products included.”

Does the Apple Watch have staying power? Megan Collins of StyleGirlfriend will be watching.

“The Apple Watch will definitely be a status symbol when it first hits the scene, in the same way that some guys can’t wait to flash their new iPhone the day it comes out. What remains to be seen is whether it outlasts the ‘trend’ phase to become a staple in every guy’s wristwatch rotation.”

Street Style photo blogger Guerre, from Guerreisms, is skeptical.
“My initial thought was that the Apple Watch seemed to fit the GQ guy — a guy who is into gadgets, trends, the sporty guy. I wondered what the point of the watch was beyond telling time, and in all honesty I guess I never was curious enough to find out. Can you connect your headphones to it? If so, wouldn’t that be uncomfortable and awkward? Just about everyone has a smartphone so what’s the point of a smart watch?”

“While I have to admit the watch looks good (in a modern way) — it’s sleek and not an eyesore — I’m a firm believer that time is precious and that what you measure your time with should reflect your belief about time. For the young, stylish guy this may do just that — for them time is endless, full of fun and disposable. But for the more mature man of style, I think he’ll rather stick to timepieces that just tell time and are reminders of moments as opposed to reminders of eras.

Calculator watches, and one’s first Swatch Watch, are reminders of periods of one’s life; I think the Apple Watch falls under that category. Something that fits the times and has its market.”

“It is a trendy man’s watch, which is not always for the stylish man.”

ZDNet’s David Gerwitz isn’t exactly enamored of the design either: “I’m going to put it right out there: it’s a thick, ugly clunker. [...] It sure seems like Apple’s watch is thicker, and looks alot like Apple stuck an iPhone 1 in the wash and it shrunk. There’s a lot of curviness where there doesn’t need to be, and a big, bulbous bottom where your wrist meets the phone.”

Venture Beat’s John Koetsier pulled no punches, calling the Apple Watch “ugly and boring,” arguing that its design does too little to separate it from its smartwatch competitors. Worst of all? He’s certain Steve Jobs would not sign off on its design.

Watch blog Hodinkee’s review by Benjamin Clymer mostly lauded the Apple Watch, but couldn’t help but note two glaring faults: first, it doesn’t fit beneath your shirt cuff with ease, meaning its bulk will be a regular distraction, and second, despite some neat styling features, it still lacks emotion compared to a mechanical watch. “[...]what makes the millions of us who would never trade a Rolex in for an Apple is the emotion brought about by our watches – the fact that they are so timeless, so lasting, so personal. Nothing digital, no matter if Jony Ive designed it, could ever replace that, if for no other reason than sheer life-cycle limitations. My watches will last for generations; this Apple Watch will last for five years, if we're lucky.”


How to Tastefully Pack a Pistol, the Right Hat for London, and More! March 10 2015

Glenn O'Brien from GQ Mag. Solves Your Sartorial Conundrums. 
1418071654355_01 open carry on

Open-Carry On
I live in Wisconsin, where you can carry a gun as long as it's visible. What's the most stylish way to holster a pistol?

Have you considered a drop-loop double holster with rawhide tie-downs and double bandoliers? Of course, that's probably best with a dressed-down look, like a Packers jersey and a cheesehead hat. For dressier occasions, maybe a vertical shoulder holster like the Idaho Leather Company's Last Man Standing model. They'll be ducking into doorways when they see you coming into Oshkosh wearing your Colt in that gizmo. Wear highly polished conchas on your hatband and you can blind your dueling opponent by catching the sun in them.

 

1418071654359_02 j crew ludlow suit

Attention, Shoppers
I am 21 and am tired of looking 40 percent great, 60 percent freshman in college. I want to spend $1,500 and get some nice clothes. Where should I go, my man?

To be truthful, I'd have to say J.Crew offers the best style and value. I should also admit that I have friends there, and I have a discount card they sent me. But once I got my first Ludlow suit, I kept going back. Your budget will buy you a couple of fine suits and the kit to go with them.

1418071654362_04 check or checkmate

Check or Checkmate?
How do you feel about buffalo plaid in the workplace? Too cabin-in-the-woods for the modern office?

If the workplace is a lumberyard or a hardware store or any place where hunting season presents a hazard, fine. If you are Terry Richardson, why not? But if you work in something resembling a normal office, you may suddenly find yourself transferred to the Butte or Billings branch.

 

1418071654363_05 bates hats

Tops in Hats
I'm planning a trip to London this winter, and I want to know what style of hat I should wear so as not to stand out like an obvious tourist. Is there a specific type of hat you'd recommend?

London has some of the best hat shops in the world. I suggest you shop when you get there, enjoy expert help, and try on whatever you fancy. The best hatters are Bates on Jermyn Street, Christys' at Princes Arcade off Jermyn Street, and Lock & Co on St. James's Street. You'll find fedoras across the color spectrum, tweed caps and deerstalkers, and exotica like bowlers and top hats. For summer, Bates offers a nifty roll-up Panama that can survive an airliner's overhead bin.

 

1418139741228_08 tread lightly

Tread Lightly
Is it appropriate to wear black suede brogues with a tuxedo? I seem to see tuxes paired only with shiny patent leather, but I want to stand apart.

Looking like a clod, oaf, or dolt will perhaps set you apart, but brogues will offend any good tux. Personally, I don't care for patent leather, and I find that black calfskin pumps or plain polished black oxfords look right. Brogues are not for tripping the light fantastic. Tuxedos are not for standing apart; they are for standing together. Let the ladies do the standing apart.

 

 


The Six Shearling-Collar Coats to Consider March 09 2015

The Six Shearling-Collar Coats to Consider

You know the old saying about March: in like a lion, out like a lamb.

Which got us thinking, while we’re still on the lion end of March, we sure could use some help from that lamb... in the form of shearling. (Just go with it.)

So we rounded up the six handsomest shearling-collar coats on the market right now.

The Six Shearling-Collar Coats to Consider

Ami

  • From Kempt Magazine

Fashion changes too fast these days: Pierre Cardin February 03 2015

Today's fashion designers change styles much too fast, partly due to twice-yearly collections, making it harder to create couture that lasts for years, says designer Pierre Cardin.

The 88-year-old doyen of French fashion also said that it is now much harder for designers than when he first started in the business roughly 60 years ago.

"After the war, there were very few designers. Now there are so many designers around the world, in every country. It is impossible to change the fashions every year, every six months," he told a news conference.

"There are lots of designs that are very beautiful, crazy, fantastic on the eyes, but they are not making fashion for tomorrow. You can see it anywhere... but four or five years later, no fashion."

Cardin also said that when he launched his own label in 1950 he was told that what he was doing was "impossible" and that only belief in himself and obsession carried him through.

"At the time I was told that trying to make what I did was like trying to walk on the moon -- impossible. It was my strategy to believe that one day a man goes up," he said.

"My work was like an addiction. That's why I've been able to do it for so long."

Cardin has become a household name on products around the world from couture clothing to alarm clocks. He was the first Western couturier to turn to Japan as a high fashion market in the late 1950s and later communist China in 1975.

The designer was expelled from the Chambre Syndicale -- the monitoring body of Haute Couture in Paris -- for launching a ready-to-wear collection in 1959, but was soon reinstated.