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


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.


Should You Wear a Backpack to Work? September 17 2015

The short answer is yes; as long as it’s not your old college backpack, or something that looks like it should be taken on a camping trip.

 

I don't think these are the looks you're going for.

When I worked on Wall Street, I would take the path train from Jersey City into NYC every day. Along the way I would look at the different types of bags men carried to and from work. This was actually where I first started getting inspired to create a men’s leather goods collection. As I observed the daily bags men carried, I noticed a few things. First, many of the bags men used were over-done with too many pockets and straps that just didn’t look right unless you were going camping. Second, many of the men going to work were still using what looked like their old college backpack similar to Jansport or Eastpack bags. A lot of the men who used these backpacks actually wore them with a professional business suit. Third, the people who put in some extra effort and carried a quality leather bag, looked a lot more professional and well-put together. Someone you might think worked in upper-management, if not due for a promotion anytime soon.

 

That's a bit more like it!

This brings me back to my original point. Please do carry a backpack or leather shoulder bag of your choice to work, but make sure you invest in a quality, professional leather bag. When wearing a professional business suit, the worst thing you can do is pair that with something that makes you look like a student. I know many of you may not wear a suit to work every day, but that is no excuse to continue using what appears to be a student backpack for a professional job in the city. A professional leather backpack or leather bag will not only help to improve your appearance, but it will show your superiors and co-workers that you take work seriously. Just think, have you ever seen the CEO roll into work with a Jansport on their back?

As I stated before, many of my daily train observances helped me create styles that keep the working professional looking professional, as well as stylish. So, Avallone’s solution to the college backpack conundrum is our Antique Leather Backpack. It’s handmade with 9 stitches per inch, features a unique combination of leather and suede, and comes with a Lifetime Warranty.  It’s something even the CEO would wear.  Check it out below, or click here to view it on our website!

If you’re not looking for a backpack but still need a professional leather bag, check out our full selection of men’s handmade leather bags here.

-By Christopher J. Avallon, Founder & CEO of Avallone


Jason Statham, for Your Amusement June 05 2015

From hustling knockoffs on the streets of London to becoming Hollywood's preeminent action hero, the man has always known how to sell what he wants the world to buy.


Nigel Parry

Jason Statham, the last action star, is telling a story about his first career. Once, he was a driver. "There was a guy years ago who used to come down to Crystal Palace, where I used to train. His name was Mad Harry, and he couldn't fucking dive to save his life. Every day at the same time, just before they'd close the pool to the public so we could train, Mad Harry would climb up to the top of the board, thirty-three feet, ten meters high, and he would do this almighty belly flop. Every day. Boom! We would look at each other and go, 'Fucking someone should teach that man how to dive.' "

"I feel like I've had four careers. A career of a fucking street trader, the career of a sportsman, and now I've got a career of something different. Three, actually. I've had three careers."

The terrazzo on which Statham sits is a garden of high-end rattan furnishings. His house spreads the broad way along a downward pitch in the Hollywood Hills. It's wider rather than deeper, so that every room feels long from left to right and shallow from front to back. He is folded into a chair, shrinking downward, feet bare. He is not a big man—he is fit, light on those bare feet, and younger looking than his forty-seven years—and he doesn't stop talking. Not ever. Not really. Not once. He swears the way you wish everybody could, the way some people hope to use exclamation points, as an imprint of enthusiasm. And when Statham looks at an audience of one, really looks at you, it feels like you may be in a little trouble. Somehow he always looks pissed off, wrung out, put upon. World-weary. Black, black eyes. Sharp brow. Twitch of exasperation. He regards things sideways, incredulous at the very prospect of them, constantly asking: Who's this, then? Eyes screw in tighter, brows rise more with each sentence. A squint. It seems to amuse him that he intimidates. He doesn't scowl or use a tagline or fall into an eyebrow routine. He is himself. Tough guy. Drives hard. Even when talking about Mad Harry, the fuckup diver.

"I just don't think he knew what he was doing. Obviously. You have to take the right trajectory. You have to gauge the rotation. It's a lot of physics to put into play. You find a way that you're not gonna go over and do yourself a disservice. You figure it out a little bit. Because if you're landing on your nuts, as a bloke, believe me, it's no fun."

Statham talks like a man who knows things, who understands the physics at play. Drawn from instincts developed as a high-level athlete (twelve years spent on the British national diving team), lessons learned working the stony streets of London, axioms earned while living on thick and rubber-banded cold rolls of cash, everything Statham says stinks of truth. Not the truth. Not core truths, necessarily. A truth. Shit his father taught him. The college of You Gotta Get By. Inarguable, really. Everything declares: He wasn't made in the Hollywood Hills. He came from elsewhere, and it doesn't bother him all that much to remind people of that. It's a real past.

All this makes it easy to become a kind of hostage to his storytelling, like someone stuffed in the trunk while he drives, like some mook in a Jason Statham movie. As such, it would feature only a single word as its title: Snatch, Crank, Collateral, London, War, Redemption. Two words max. The Transporter. Action movies, car movies, chase movies, capers. Though just now the movie that's opening is Spy, Paul Feig's new comedy with Melissa McCarthy and Jude Law, in which Statham plays an absurdly funny comic construct of his own character type.

"Jason makes every movie better," Feig says of his decision to cast the Transporter in a Melissa McCarthy vehicle. "I hate comedy that's trying to be funny. Jason doesn't have to try. He gets it. In every movie, people pick up on his good-natured ways. And I've known that he was funny ever since that first Crank movie. Crank is ridiculous. He's so good in it."

Statham shrugs this off. "I've always been apprehensive about trying to do a fucking comedy, because they're either brilliant or they're fucking terrible. At least in making an action film, there's always going to be someone who wants to see a car chase. Even if a lot of the people don't like it, there will be a lot of people that do. But bad comedy is just garbage. But this works, and I give a lot of the credit—or all of the fucking credit—to Paul and the writing."



Be clear: Statham wasn't looking for a break from his action-movie set. He'd just finished Furious 7 (opened in April, huge hit) and the chance to do Spy came his way. He took it, happily, because the guy needs to work. He makes movies one after another. He has his credos. "It's that peasant mentality," he explains. "Make hay while the sun shines. When you're kicking around and you ain't got no money, that don't feel too good. So when there's finally money coming in, it's hard to say, 'I'm too good for that.' It's finding a balance, really, and it's a difficult thing to manage." Then he answers a question he wasn't asked. "But have I taken on too many jobs? Probably. Look, you never intend for anything to go badly. There's so many fucking moving parts." Movies are like race cars, he says. A lot of different components. "You've got the chassis—that might be the director. The director of photography, he would be the wheels. From movie to movie, the components move around. The combinations change. Sometimes you've got a Ferrari and all the components are top-of-the-range. Sometimes you've got a fucking Fiat Panda that doesn't have, you know, certain elements."

It's a cloudy analogy. He drinks some water, sets his chin.

"When it comes to movies, I'm always trying to find the Ferrari," he says. "When you go to work with Scorsese or Chris Nolan or someone of that caliber, then I don't think you have to worry about what car you're gonna be racing in. You're in the race rather than fucking turning up on a donkey."

This time he is asked: Have you ever sat there at a premiere, watching the finished product, and said, "Oh, no . . ."?

Statham goes a little wide-eyed. "Yeah, I think I've said that more often than not. Yeah." He laughs like a hound.

"I really enjoyed working with Guy Ritchie. One, it gave me a career, and two, they're probably a couple of the best films I've ever done. I thought The Bank Job was a really quality movie. Even working with Luc Besson and doing The Transporter, one and two—pretty good. The Crank movie—I thought that was decent." Here he takes a little breath, then lets himself off the hook. "And the rest is shite."

A big laugh follows before he retreats. "No, no: I take that back. I mean, you do a lot of films. You're always aiming for something and trying to push yourself to do something good. A movie, it's like a very complicated timepiece. There's a lot of wheels in a watch. And some of those wheels, if they don't turn right, then, you know, the watch ain't gonna tell the time."

So now a movie is a wristwatch rather than a car. A watch that sometimes doesn't work. This brings us to his second career.

Once, Jason Statham sold cheap watches. Among other pieces of crap. "I was a 'fly pitcher' is what they call it," he says. He used the streets of London to make a living, starting when he was around fourteen, after his father, whom everyone called Nogger, gave him entry into the hustle. "As a boy, I was 'Nogger's Son.' So I could sit and watch them, masters at work, and everyone had good funny names: Peckhead Pete, Mickey Drippin, Colin the Dog. I'd sit down outside of Harrods and I'd pitch the jewelry. I'd do five chains, I'd do twenty-four-inch rope, the matching eighteen, a bracelet, a figaro chain, a matching bracelet, and either a pendant or a choice of a gent's or a lady's ring. And that would be the whole set. We'd display it in boxes and we'd wrap it up in tissue paper. We'd place it in their palms: 'Here you are, madam!' " He used the proceeds to fund his diving career, including an appearance at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in New Zealand. (He placed tenth out of eleven competitors in the high dive. His back three-and-a-half somersault with tuck, among other tricks is on YouTube.) "All the other divers were broke. I was the only one who had money. Plenty of money, loads of dough. Two, three grand in a weekend. Me and my mate Fish Fibbens, when we had enough money, we'd buy cars and we'd race the fuck out of each other, all through London. It was really dangerous; we're lucky we didn't get fucking killed or kill somebody." Surely this must have been a kind of training, some small hint of what was to come in The Transporter or a Fast & Furious movie. "I can't really say that that helps you for driving in film, but you know we had that reckless attitude. We had a bit of a You don't care, you're just having a bit of fun. You're just getting behind the wheel and you're game for it. Cars I've always loved. I fucking love cars."

He's sanguine about the vaguely criminal edge of this second career, running the gamut between caveat emptor and the lesser of two evils like any good con man. With a little urging, he'll describe the various pitches and players as a kind of interrelated performance art. Mock Auctions. Five-Pound Nailers. The Ram Shops. Money on Top. Pitch Pulling. Top Man. The Run Out. Punters. Statham learned them all and ran the cons for years. "How do you make money?" he replies to another question that wasn't asked. " 'Cause people are fucking greedy. Human nature says that you want a bargain, whether you want the goods or not. You think that something is a steal, you'll buy it. Ten pounds is not a fortune. And what I'm selling is costume jewelry, basically, that you can buy in Barneys or any of these other fucking trumped-up shops that have rates that are like extortionist. They've got to turn the lights on, they've got carpets and chandeliers. They've got all that to pay for, so they can't sell that chain for what I can sell it for. I'm getting it from the same fucking sources, but I'm selling it with a bit of street theater and having a bit of fun with it, making a living. People ain't getting ripped up. No one's saying it's gold."

This last point is important to Statham, and there's another credo of his, applicable to the selling of potentially shoddy goods as well as the making of potentially schlocky B-movies: "We never used to say it was gold. We never used to say it was gold-plated. We never used to say what it was. They're going, 'Is it stolen? Is it gold?' And to this we used to say things like 'You've heard of Cartier, madam?' And everyone has to answer 'Yes,' because who hasn't heard of Cartier? We got them going by making them say: Yes. Yes. Yes. Now, if you're an idiot and you think it's gold, that's your problem, not mine."

After missing his third Olympic team in 1992, with his third consecutive third-place finish at the Olympic trials (the team took only two divers per event), Statham gave up diving just as the street trade began winding down. "It all just faded away," he says. "There was no more money." He had a vague idea of becoming a stuntman. He started a kind of piecemeal training—a little judo, some boxing, jujitsu. "I didn't have a clue. I wasn't training for nothing particular," he says. "I wanted to break into the stunt business since I wasn't afraid of much. And I knew some people."

One of them was an aspiring director named Guy Ritchie, whom he'd met through a modeling gig and who was casting his first feature, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, about a pack of lowlifes and criminals. "Guy came at me 'cause he was interested in what I used to do on the fucking street. He'd written a character that was the same as me. And he said, 'I love it. Give me some of the patter.' At the time, I had loads of it. Loads of it. And he was fascinated with that, and he just wanted someone who was authentic. He said, 'I'm gonna get someone from fucking drama school to do this? How can they learn what you've learned?' It's such an esoteric fucking subject, no one knows about it unless you're in it. You can't read it in textbooks." Ritchie cast Statham, then in his early thirties, in one of the lead roles, despite his not having a stitch of acting experience.

"I got £5,000 for doing Lock, Stock. And then, for Guy's next movie, Snatch, I got like 15,000," he said. "I would have done them for free just for the opportunity to do something different. I feel like I've had four careers. A career of a fucking street trader, the career of a sportsman, and now I've got a career of something different. Three, actually. I've had three careers."

"I feel like I've had four careers. A career of a fucking street trader, the career of a sportsman, and now I've got a career of something different. Three, actually. I've had three careers."

Today, seventeen years since his movie debut, Jason Statham is an actor. More specifically, he is an action hero, the most singular of his generation, who relied on careers number one and two to ease the transition into career number three. "One of the great things about diving was that we would just do whatever we wanted to do. We used to go down to the gymnastic center and we'd do tumbling into a pit. We'd get a trampoline out and fuck about on that. I learned all these aerial skills that served me great and brought me all kinds of comfort in doing action films. While all these other actors are in drama school learning how to cry, I'm learning how to do aerial acrobatics." As for what Statham called the "street theater" of career number two, well—pitching was performance.

"I've always fucking loved movies," Statham says, and to understand Statham for what he is, a pure action hero, look at the universe of films he describes as his roots and at the men he selects as his icons. "My mom and dad used to show me films—Cool Hand Luke, The Great Escape, all the Burt Lancaster movies. Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson. Even musicals. My mom made sure I saw plenty of Gene Kelly." His strength from the start: physically adept men. Men under siege. Jumping motorcycles, side kicking, leaping, dancing, running, counterpunching, all of these men capable of imprinting on the audience with a single look. A look of fearful wonder in Snatch. A look of businesslike outrage in The Transporter. A look of wild panic in Crank. A look of sour consternation in the latest Fast & Furious.

Statham's notable role in Spy aside, he has no aspirations outside the action genre. "I've never had a fucking acting lesson; no one's telling me how to act," he says. "Would it be better for Daniel Day-Lewis to play Lincoln than me?" He laughs at the prospect. "I think so." And as he drifts off that next laugh, he adds: "But no one's asked me to play Lincoln, and I'm not too worried about not getting the offer."

Not that he minds trained actors. Not really. "It doesn't annoy me, but it can be a little pretentious. So people warming up their vocal chords before a take, going 'Meh, meh, meh'?" He tilts his nogger, raises an eyebrow, gives his patented leer, the one that tells a roomful of matineegoers that he knows what's what, you know what's what, and he's in it with you. An action hero. "Sometimes I want to remind them, at the end of the day, they're just pretending to be somebody else. I'm used to selling fucking jewelry on the street. There's no pretense there."

There is a kind of freedom in working the peasant way, the Statham way. His father, with five careers and counting (house painter, coal miner, fly pitcher, wholesaler, and now a song-and-dance man in the Canary Islands), is still a source of pride for Statham. "He's been good at everything he ever did," he says. "And when he wasn't, he fucking moved on." For Statham, there is no fourth career. No sense that he should be doing anything but this. No next act. If Spy is a surprise to some—a pivot or a repositioning of his brand—it's only because some people are tempted to regard him only as a guy who likes to look good driving fast cars, a vain and humorless lot if there ever was one.

Statham knows his history and is comfortable with the life it has provided. There's home in the Hollywood Hills. There's life with his girlfriend, model and actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. There's fun, which Statham describes in the most British way possible: "We get drunk and float around the swimming pool." But mostly there's work, and for the last action hero, there is only the work of an action hero. He never stops selling, no matter what the product turns out to be. Sometimes, maybe most times, it's a Panda. Every now and then, a Ferrari. All the same to him. All the better for fans, who trust him to never ham-hand the responsibility of the action star. It's a firm compact, and it is one he never saw coming.

The Statham Type: A Select Filmography
LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS (1998): BACON, hustler / SNATCH (2000): TURKISH, fight promoter, hustler / TURN IT UP (2000): MR. B, drug dealer / THE TRANSPORTER (2002): FRANK, driver / THE ITALIAN JOB (2003): HANDSOME ROB, thief / CELLULAR (2004): ETHAN, kidnapper / TRANSPORTER 2 (2005): See The Transporter / CRANK (2006): CHEV, hitman / DEATH RACE (2008): JENSEN, race-car driver, reluctant killer / TRANSPORTER 3 (2008): See The Transporter / CRANK: HIGH VOLTAGE (2009): See Crank / THE EXPENDABLES (2010): LEE, mercenary / THE MECHANIC (2011): ARTHUR, hitman / GNOMEO & JULIET (2011): TYBALT, a lawn gnome who cheats to win a lawnmower race. Animated. / KILLER ELITE (2011): DANNY, mercenary / THE EXPENDABLES 2 (2012): See The Expendables / PARKER (2013): PARKER, thief / THE EXPENDABLES 3 (2014): See The Expendables / FURIOUS 7 (2015): DECKARD, assassin. / SPY (2015): RICK, bad spy

-From Esquire June/July 2015


The 10 Best Websites for Men May 22 2015

best-websites-for-menThere are literally hundreds of websites written specifically for men. Some offer self help while others offer men’s entertainment or products (click here for a list of men’s product websites).

In researching for my upcoming men’s trivia app Mantelligence, I read through almost all of these sites. To save you some time, I decided to create a list of my favorites.

For each site, I give you a quick breakdown of what the site is all about, the site’s highlights and a few of their best articles.

The 10 Best Websites for Men

So here they are.  The top 10 websites for men in no particular order.

top-websites-for-men-huckberry

Huckberry

Picture Huckleberry Finn in your mind’s eye. Now imagine that Huckleberry Finn could be a website site a voilà.

Huckberry sells men’s products but also has a phenomenal blog. They post some of the most interesting content on the web that you will not find elsewhere

Highlights:

  • Amazing photography
  • Unique articles

Alden Tan

Warning: Alden’s site is not for the faint of heart.

His tagline, “Helping you not give a f_ _k,” well illustrates this. His articles aren’t the traditional self help. They are written in a very gritty, personal and honest voice. He gives great advice and his writing style is a nice change of pace.

Highlights: 

  • Great advice without any fluff
  • Lots of cursing

The Art of Manliness

The Art of Manliness wins the side prize for the best website name. Manliness, as the name declares, is truly an art.

A repeat offender on any list of the best websites for men, the Art of Manliness features articles written to help men break free of today’s stereotypes of what a man is. Many of the articles leverage advice from the past (like how to shave like your grandpa). Anything you read on the site will leave you with something you didn’t know before.

Highlights 

  • Well thought out and in depth articles
  • Very well written

Man Made DIY

DIY for men (I hope you got that from the title).

This is by far the best website for men’s DIY projects. It offers a wide range of projects that can inexpensively make your apartment look great. The website also has a great weekly post on Wednesday called “Blow My Mindsday”. This post brings you the best articles from across the web and, as the title suggests, may potentially blow your mind.

Highlights:

  • Abundance of men’s DIY
  • Blow My Minsday

Dudepins

Pinterest for men!

This site is a great mix of beautiful women, inspirational quotes and pictures, and other generally awesome photos for men. If you have a few minutes to kill, this is the place to do it.

Highlights

  • The web’s best collection of photographs for men
  • Photos you won’t find elsewhere

Best Articles (kinda):

  1. Mila Kunis
  2. Make a Man of Yourself
  3. Swag

His Potion

“Smart Stuff for Men”

His Potion is a great mix of men’s products and entertainment. My favorite post is their Friday Inspiration. This weekly post is a list of really high quality photographs designed to inspire your weekend. I highly recommend subscribing to their newsletter to get your weekend started right.

Disclaimer: The newsletter comes Friday morning. If you read it at work, it’s going to be a long day.

Highlights:

  • Friday Inspiration
  • Great mix of men’s products and entertainment

Fearless Men

“Stand up. Fight Hard. Win.”

Fearless Men’s articles cover a wide range of topics. Their articles are well written, easy to understand and always concise. The authors are great at giving you the information you need without making you read through 5 pages to get it.

Highlights:

  • Diverse content
  • Succinct articles

Primer

Primer has a great tagline, “A guy’s post college guide to growing up.” The website does just that.

It is a great mix of advice, entertainment and fashion. They shine in the fashion department. The site helps you look good without ruining your bank account.

Highlights:

  • Fashion advice for the average man
  • Lots of animated infographics

Menprovement

Menprovement is designed is to make you a better you. Their mantra is “helping men reach their maximum potential”.

It was founded in 2013, and in less than a year has developed a strong and dedicated following. Their articles always seem to answer the questions that you’re asking right now. They are written in a easy to understand and a very relate-able voice

Highlights

  • Lots of how to guides and infographics
  • In depth articles

Mantelligence

Can anyone say selfless promotion? Well I sure can…

Mantelligence, and the Mantelligence app, are designed to give you all the manly intelligence you need. The site has easy to read articles answers the questions you’re having in your daily life. They’re easy to read and will undoubtedly help you become a better man.

Highlights

  • General and overall awesomeness
  • All the manly intelligence you need

 

 

Photo Credit: Dottie Mae on Flickr


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 Easy 5-Piece Outfit You Should Know for Spring April 01 2015

The Man

Mario Carbone, the chef and culinary empire builder just opened his latest restaurant.

The Clothes

Ever heard the phrase, "The more you know, the less you need?" Minimalism has plenty of mantras, and they usually evoke images of boring black suits. There is another kind of minimalism taking root this spring and summer, though, with clothes distilled to their most basic forms and then elevated with unexpected materials or colors. They're still simple and versatile, but they're also singular and distinctive, and when worn together in easy, five-piece outfits, they're the only things you need for spring.

You don't see a silk jacket often, which is why the sheen and texture on this one stands out in the simplest possible way. That and its aubergine color, of course.

2. Cotton shirt ($375) by Ermenegildo Zegna.

There is nothing more beautiful than a fine cotton shirt, especially when it has subtle stripes like this one does.

3. Cotton trousers ($475) by Ermenegildo Zegna.

The humble chino, elevated to the highest degree

4. Silk tie ($205) by Ermenegildo Zegna.

This tie might look plain at first glance, but its sheen and texture add plenty of visual interest.

5. Suede shoes ($345) by Coach.

These simple suede uppers gracefully give way to a rugged, clear ranger sole, which adds just enough heft to make these shoes perfectly unusual.

-From Esquire April 2015


5 Great Hairstyles for Men March 19 2015

So how do men get the very best hairstyle? First, it’s important to be true to oneself; choose a hairstyle that suits your style, shape of your face and personality as well. Most hairstyles only look good on a specific face shape, for instance someone with a rounder face shape might want more volume in their hair, or, someone with larger ears may want to keep their sides longer.

Today hairstyles for men are becoming more elaborate than they have been during at any other time during the last 20 years. If you want to go short or have a messy hair look or if you prefer to go longer there are many different ways to make a statement with your hair. If you go for short hairstyle, then you have to ensure it goes with your face shape and this style is pretty simple to maintain.

For longer hairstyles, you can go to a salon and pay some extra money for a high quality haircut. After getting the right kind of hairstyle you want to ensure that you use high quality hair styling products. There are lots of cheap hair styling products that may cost a lot less, but probably do nothing for your hair.

Checkout the top 5 trends in men’s hairstyles:

1. The Classic Look

It is stylish and can be worn on any given occasion. The hair has to be long length or medium in length and the style is well achieved by putting certain hair products for example gel or pomade to create wet look. The sides are neatly swept to the back as well and the long hair to the front. Using a fine tooth comb will allow for the sleekest and classiest styles.

Here is a video demonstrating how to style a classic side part:

2. Messy Spikes

Spiked hair is less “in” at the moment, but it may be making a comeback soon. One can achieve this look when the hair is at short to medium length. One has to use hair products such as gel and wax to have the spiky look. There are various types of spiky look and all styles cater to both non-formal and formal occasions. The undercut is currently seeing it’s final days of prevalence, and a few different styles are vying for what will be “the next big thing” in 2015. Likely the trend will be longer sides, although some people are trying to set trends with messy, volumized spikes.

messy-spikes-hairstyles

3. The Pompadour

The pompadour is a personal favourite of mine. This is a great style because it really allows you to go all out and really show what you can do with your hair. To pull off a pompadour, one will need either a wax or pomade. Using wax’s in combination with a blow dryer are my personal favourite to create a volumized, yet messy style. If your hair has issues holding it’s volume, using a mousse prior to blow drying paired with a hairspray after styling will help keep your hair in place.

Here is a tutorial on how to style a messy pompadour:

4. The Shaved Head

If you are experiencing hair loss, the buzz cut is the best way to go. It is at times called the crew cut and it’s achieved by tapering the front side, backside and the sides of the head to come up with a clean look. It gives one’s face a rounder look and so the cut is not ideal for the face shapes that are too round, however when balding this is still the best option.

shaved-head-jason-steatham

5. Messy Hair

The messy hair is not out of the list. Due to the increasing number and quality of men’s hair products, the messy hairstyle is pretty simple to achieve. Wax can be used to create messy hairstyles which can be worn both in non-formal and formal events. There are various ways to style messy hair depending on the face shape and the type of occasion it’s worn.

This video shows three different styles, one of which is a quick messy hairstyle:

Hairstyles are one of the quickest and easiest ways to improve your look. The hairstyle you choose can greatly affect your overall appearance and can make or break the way you look for the day. If you are passionate about the way that you express yourself through style, try to find out the type of hairstyle that best suits you through personal experimentation. One can read as many handbooks or articles as they please, but nothing beats putting some wax in your hands and getting to work.

-Written by Joseph Andrews of Menstylefashion.com


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

Not the Face! A Handy Guide to Applying Cologne February 23 2015

apply-cologne-01.jpg

Always:
The Spray 'n' Dab
Deliver one squirt to each wrist and then dab your neck. Why? It has nothing to do with pulse points—that's just where your skin meets the air most often.

apply-cologne-02.jpg

Sometimes:
The Mist
Yeah, walking through a cloud of scent seems precious at first, but it's the safest way to ensure you don't go overboard if you're using a potent cologne.

apply-cologne-03.jpg

Never:
The Direct Hit
Do not, under any circumstances, spray directly on your chest, clothes, or neck. It's a good way to make everyone else in the elevator hate you.


3 Kickstarter Projects to Enhance Your Wardrobe February 17 2015

 We found 3 great kickstarter projects that will enahance your wardrobe and complement any Avallone handmade leather wallet, bag, or belt. Check out the video's and links below: 

1. Kabaccha - Ultralight, comfortable & affordable leather shoes hand-crafted in Italy by artisan shoemakers.

2. The Quarter Century PantMade in America and backed by a 25 year guarantee. 

3. The Tie MakerAll the essential ties you need without paying an arm and a leg.


Do you have what it takes to be a Gentleman? February 05 2015

Manners. Etiquette. For some men, these words don’t belong in the same breath asmanliness. For them, etiquette and manners conjure up arbitrary lists of dos and don’ts, a nagging mother, or scenes of artificial formality, complete with images of bowing and scraping, the polishing of monocles, and a bunch of treacly, “How do you dos?” and “No, after yous!”

It wasn’t always so. Our forbearers saw no contradiction in being ruggedly manly and a refined gentleman. For centuries, well-bred men were trained in all the manly arts, from the skills needed to be a soldier to the proper etiquette for dinner parties. They were quintessential gentlemen—dapper in dress, polite in conduct, and yet every bit a true man.

George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, and Robert E. Lee are some examples of men who combined gritty manliness with gentlemanly bearing. They paid attention to how they dressed, groomed, and conducted themselves and were as comfortable at a stately ball as they were on the battlefield. For these great men, having good manners did not make themless of a man, but more of one.

This is because they saw good manners in the way Edward John Hardy, author of Manners Makyth Man, defined them: as “little morals,” “the shadows of virtues, if not virtues themselves.”  If character was the root of inner manliness, then manners were the outer fruits that sprouted from the tree – the external behaviors and code of conduct that naturally followed from a life of virtue. These great men understood that while it is true that the rules of etiquette change over time and from culture to culture, the underlying principles of all manners remain constant: a respect for others, and a desire to treat all people with honesty and consideration – just as you’d like to be treated.

Still unconvinced? First let’s take a more specific look at some misconceptions about manners, and then at the reasons you should cultivate them.

What Good Manners Are Not

A young man’s negative opinion on manners sometimes springs from observing others practice them badly. But these are not true manners, for:

Good manners are not stiff, formal, or awkward. Good manners should come off as entirely natural. Some young men, knowing this and not wanting to seem like they’re trying too hard, swing the opposite way, and try so hard to be “natural” in their manners that they come off as even more contrived! Real naturalness comes from a few things:

  • Forgetting yourself and concentrating on others. The more you focus on making others comfortable, the less self-conscious you will feel, and the more comfortable you will become yourself.
  • Catering your behavior to the crowd and event in which you find yourself. Your manners should be more formal when visiting the White House than when eating at Chili’s.
  • Practice. Good manners shouldn’t be something you cram for in emergencies like studying for an exam. Rather, they should be a habit you develop through practice over time, like a leather coat that gets softer, more comfortable, and better-looking the more you wear it.
  • Cultivating an inner sense of character. This is most important. At its root, naturalness in manner springs from your sincerity and desire to treat people well for the right reasons; as mentioned above, it should be a natural extension of your character. Even if you do end up being a little awkward, if it comes from a sincere place, people will be very forgiving of it.

Good manners are not ostentatious. Good manners should never be showy or call attention to themselves. In fact they should not even be immediately noticeable in the moment and instead should create an overall positive impression, which the people with whom you interact only reflect on later: “I really enjoy his company.” “I had such a good time at his party.”

Good manners are not smug and judgmental. You don’t practice good manners to feel superior to others or to wield them as a club, policing people’s behavior.  As Charles Dickens once wrote: “My boy,” said a father to his son, “treat everyone with politeness—even those who are rude to you. For remember that you show courtesy to others not because they are gentlemen, but because you are one.”

Why Practice Good Manners?

Good manners give you confidence. Much of what constitutes good manners consists of common sense. Yet common sense can often fail us when we’re nervous, in unfamiliar territory, and just winging it. Look at manners as the signposts along the broad highway of common sense, guiding you in how to act and react in any situation, without veering off and getting lost in the thickets when you’re not sure what to do.

Good manners make a positive impression on others. A man with good manners makes enjoyable company, a welcome party guest, a referable contact, a trusted employee. Good manners attest to a man’s self-respect and self-control, qualities that apply to all areas of life. Plus, as good manners are in such short supply these days, they instantly put you head and shoulders above other young men out there.

Good manners add texture to life. In our day-to-day lives, we often just move from one thing to another, as each day bleeds into the next. Thus from time immemorial people have sought a break from the ordinary by creating festivals, rituals, special occasions. But special occasions aren’t special if we behave and dress exactly as we do in our everyday lives. Manners provide a unique texture to our lives, and contribute to adding a special atmosphere to special events – the solemnity of a funeral, the pomp of a wedding, the grace of a baptism, the significance of a graduation, even the escape of a movie. At the same time, creating this atmosphere is a community effort –with the guy in a t-shirt and shorts, the ringing of a cell phone, or the man walking in late, the spell is broken.

Good manners make things in life smoother, more pleasant, and more comfortable for everyone. Ironically, manners both add texture to life, and make our interactions smoother. Many old etiquette books described manners as the substance that “oils the creaking wheels of life.”  While we’d like to think that left to our own devices, everything would just flow naturally between people, without any guidelines on how to act – who does what and when – a whole lot of awkwardness and impoliteness ensues.

Good manners make other people feel comfortable. Ever been at a dinner where a guy brought up embarrassing stories from someone’s past, or insisted on pontificating about politics? Have you ever been with a friend who started talking to someone who was a stranger to you, but never stopped to introduce you to him, leaving you standing there awkwardly? “For what is a good manner?” William John Hardy wrote, “It is the art of putting our associates at their ease. Whoever makes the fewest persons uncomfortable is the best mannered man in the room.”

Good manners ultimately show respect for others. Do you like to wake up early to meet someone, only to have them be 20 minutes late? Do you enjoy it when your friend throws a tantrum after losing a round of golf? Would you like it if you made $2.50 an hour, busted your butt serving people, and then got stiffed on a tip? Do you appreciate being interrupted while you’re speaking? No? Then live the heart of good manners: the Golden Rule. Treat others with the same respect you’d like to be treated with.

In summary, good manners make life richer and more enjoyable for you and for others. Unfortunately, many young men are raised with very little guidance on the proper manners to cultivate for different areas of their lives. The good news is that good manners can be learned by any young man no matter his background (and by any older man, no matter his age).


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.


How to Choose a Barber January 28 2015

Hint: Trust a man with scissors, not clippers

How is it that we don't have robots to do this? Shouldn't we just be able to lock our heads into some kind of Barberizer3000 contraption, download a picture of the haircut we want, and get a perfect replica? Crazy as it sounds, we're still relying on humans to wield sharp instruments near our ears to give us that look we have such trouble explaining. With humans you need to guard against miscommunication and very bad taste. In other words, you need to pay attention to who's cutting your hair. Some pointers to help you get by until the new technology arrives:

He should, first of all, be a he. Sorry—nice as it would be to have a woman patting your scalp while you sit bare-chested under a nylon kimono, it's got to be a guy.

Clientele is critical. If most of a shop's customers look like Trent Lott or Dennis Hastert, chances are it's not the place to go for the latest take on the faux-hawk.

When you do walk into a shop, check out its products. While expensive gels don't guarantee a good haircut, cheapo supermarket stuff usually means a cheapo Supercuts look is in store for you.

Beware of a barber who relies too much on electric clippers. Your haircut should have depth and dimension, and these can be achieved only through the use of scissors.

Think of it as a date. You need some talk before you get to the body contact. Let your barber know what you want. If he listens and relates to you sensibly, chances are he has the skills to back up the talk.


Style Maintenance – The True Classics January 23 2015

All of the retro-inspired elixirs look good in cabinets, but we admire those that have been getting it right for decades.

  • Aftershave – Most old spice offerings don’t have much in common with the company’s original products from the 1930’s. However,Old Spice Classic afterhshave ($9) is almost exactly the same formula. It feels good, prevents irritation, and makes you smell like your grandfather. Although some women may not think that’s a good thing. 

  • Hair – If you want the iron-clad comb-over look, or if you want to keep your hairstyle through a tornado, Murray’s Superior hair dressing ($3) is your best and most economical choice. One canister of the 89-year-old pomade can last until the next time shiny hair is in style again.

    • ShaveProraso shave cream ($10) has been made in the same Italian factory with the same ingredients since the 1940’s. The menthol and eucalyptus oils tighten pores and provide an invigorating start to your morning routine.

       

      • Powder Gold Bond Medicated body powder ($5.30 for 4 oz.) deodorizes, soothes rashes, and stimulates (when used in certain spots – whew!). The menthol powder has been saving us from swamp crotch for just over a century. God bless it.

      • Facial Hair – You might think mustache wax is pretentious. You might be right. But wax also gives your hair a healthier appearance and keeps food out of your whiskers. Whereas most new waxes require more kneading, Clubman mustache wax ($5) is creamy and easy to use.

      • Mouthwash – C.O. Bigelow pharmacy recently revived some of its original formulas with one of the best being Keightley’s mouthwash ($22.50). The modern version is painfully powerful, and with a cinnamon-minty mixture it’s also more refreshing then generic mouthwash.

      • Soap Hunter’s castile soap by Caswell-Massey ($10) hasn’t changed much since 1861. Castile soap is finally being embraced outside the granola community as more people realize that the olive-oil-based cleanser is easier on skin than most major soap brands.


        3 Stylish Men on Their After-Work-Before-Bed Wardrobes January 20 2015

        Sleepy Jones Designer Andy Spade

        The Philosophy: "It's all about utility and quality. I go to the Bowery Hotel near my office, and people are doing work in the lobby in their pajamas and robes. It makes sense, and it looks good. My dad used to tie up his robe at breakfast so it looked almost like a scalloped blazer. I try to get at that in a nontraditional way."

        Off-Duty Uniform: "Sleepy Jones pajama pants or boxer shorts and a button-down pajama top that's cut like a dress shirt. I mix and match patterns and solids with contrasting piping—a look inspired by artists like David Hockney. The pants have pockets, so they're actually quite functional. I finish with Alden loafers."

        Preferred Sleepwear: "My motto is to change as little as possible. I can wear a tie with the pajama shirt, take it off, and just go to bed. When people come by, I put on a cotton navy robe with pin dots from Paul Stuart that I've had for 12 years."

        The Missing Piece: "A sleep mask."

         

        Designer Robert Geller

        The Philosophy: "It's all about comfort and coziness, and the main goal is not to put too much effort into it. But I don't want to look sloppy in front of my wife. She still needs to like me."

        Off-Duty Uniform: "Sweatpants, often in gray melange, which is my favorite color, and a white Fruit of the Loom tank top as a base layer. If it's cold, I'll put a hooded sweatshirt over it. If I'm wearing gray pants, though, I won't wear a matching top—it may look cool, but it's a little too Rocky."

        Preferred Sleepwear: "I sleep in my underwear after I take off my clothes—white or gray boxer briefs from Uniqlo. I go to Japan four times a year to do production for my brand, and I buy them at the airport on the way back. They're quite a deal—five pairs for about $10."

        Socks for Lounging: "I don't wear shoes at home, just chunky knit Wigwam socks in white, black, or gray. The elastic isn't so tight, so I pull them over the bottom of my pants."

         

        Officine Generale designer Pierre Mahéo

        The Philosophy: "I'm not a guy who wears pajamas or color. Everything is white, gray, or navy. I have a pretty active life—wake up, walk the dog, make breakfast with my kids. I'm not going to do all that in a robe."

        Off-Duty Uniform: "At work, I'll wear a cashmere sweater and chinos in stone or khaki from my brand. When I get home, I'll keep the pants on and swap the sweater for an 80-gram jersey T-shirt. At home, I'm always barefoot. At a ski resort, it's fleece pants, No. 7 high merino-wool socks from Falke, and a cashmere turtleneck."

        Preferred Sleepwear: "Seamless white boxers from Barneys' private label and a white or gray T-shirt. I don't like button closures or polyester—just pure cotton."

        After-Hours Essential: "Old, holey gray and white Hanes crewneck T-shirts. I wouldn't wear them in the normal day, because I have to try things on in front of my staff, but I do at my country house. I love the destroyed rib collars."

        -From Details Mag. 


        School of Leather January 13 2015

        It's one of the most hard-wearing, versatile and masculine materials around. This quick reference guide offers up everything you need to know about buying, wearing and maintaining leather.

        The Essential Leather Glossary

        There's a lot of jargon when it comes to leather. Which is why we put together these easy to understand explanations of the industry terms you'll likely encounter when shopping for quality leather goods.

        Bridle Leather

        Vegetable Tanned cowhide used for making equestrian equipment.

        Buckskin

        Deer or sometimes elk skin leather.

        Buffalo Leather

        Skin from the domesticated water buffalo (and not the American bison).

        Burnished

        A polishing technique where heat is generated resulting in a unique, darker surface shine.

        Calfskin

        High-quality, fine grained leather made from the skins of young cattle.

        Cordovan

        Also known as "shell cordovan," this leather is made from the firm shell portion of a horse (read: the butt). Cordovan has a characteristic finish, and is very durable.

        Corrected Grain

        Outside skin that's been smoothed with sand paper to minimize flaws, then pigment-dyed and embossed.

        Crocking

        Like with raw denim, this is when the dyes or finishes rub off onto other materials.

        Full Grain Leather

        Leather that has not been corrected in any way, beyond the original hair removal, allowing the natural markings and character of the leather to show through. Full grain leathers must be cleaner hides to start with, making them more expensive.

        Glove Leather

        Lambskin or other very soft, high quality leathers typically used for gloves.

        Grain

        A term used to describe the natural characteristics of an unprocessed hide, such as its texture, wrinkles and markings.

        Horween

        The Horween Leather Company is one of the oldest continuously running tanneries in the US. They offer a variety of pigments and tannages, utilizing primarily cowhide and horsehide along with some bison as well.

        Nappa

        Soft, full grain leather made from unsplit sheep or lambskin. It is usually tanned with alum and chromium salts and dyed throughout the whole piece.

        Nubuck

        A leather where the surface has been buffed and brushed to create a soft, velvety effect. While suede is created from the flesh (inner) side of a hide, nubuck is created using the grain (outer) side, making it stronger.

        Oil Tanned

        Leather that is tanned using oils to create a very soft, pliable finish.

        Oxblood

        A dark, reddish-brown color used to dye leather, and is used often for cordovan.

        Patent Leather

        Leather, one surface of which is covered with a flexible, waterproof film which has a lustrous mirror-like surface. This coating was formerly built up by the application of various varnishes and lacquers using linseed oil. The original process was developed in New Jersey, by inventor Seth Boyden in 1818. Today, patent leather
        usually has a plastic coating.

        Patina

        The rich, worn-in hue or luster that develops in a quality piece of leather over time with age and wear.

        Pebbled Grain

        A popular embossed leather grain finish that resembles a bumpy, pebbled surface.

        Pull-Up

        Describes the behavior of leather that has been treated with oils, waxes and dyes so that when the leather is stretched (or pulled), the finish becomes lighter in those areas. Horween's Chromexcel is an example.

        Shearling

        Sheepskin or lambskins that have been tanned with the wool intact.

        Split

        The underneath layer of side leather which has been "split" off. Devoid of a natural grain, it may be either sueded or pigment finished and embossed.

        Suede

        A finish (not technically a type of leather) where the top surface of the hide has been removed by abrasion and then brushed to create a soft, fuzzy feel. Also known as buffed leather, similar to nubuck.

        Vegetable Tanning

        A method of hide tanning which utilizes materials from organic materials such as bark, instead of the traditional chemicals. Vegetable tanned leather is stiffer than traditionally-tanned leather, and gets darker from your body's natural oils the more you use it.


        3 Tips for a Perfect Fitting Winter Coat January 06 2015

        We talked to three experts who know a thing or two about how a coat should fit.

        Brunello Cucinelli
        Fashion Designer
        "The easiest fix a tailor can make to a coat is to take in the waist—it will instantly give it more shape. The length is also very important. A coat should hit right above the knee."

        Brian Trunzo
        Co-Owner of Carson Street Clothiers
        "The traditional rule of sleeve length is that it should hit at the base of the thumb, but I like to have it a little higher—a centimeter and a half or two—so you can see the cuff. I don't mind if it's a little shorter than what the old guard says is right. But know that the shoulder is the death knell: If it doesn't fit you in the shoulders, you're in trouble. It's possible to trim down a shoulder, but it's labor-intensive and expensive, and so few tailors are going to be able to do it, it's just not worth your time."

        Joseph Ting
        Details' New York City Tailor
        "The only thing that can't be fixed is if the coat is small—you won't have enough seam allowance to open it up. Also, I often taper the sleeves. When you look at a coat from the side, the whole thing looks better if the sleeve is slimmer."


        The 45 Essential Rules of Men’s Dress December 31 2014

        As many of you know, style is relative, which leads to a situation where there is no single list of men’s dress rules that are all-encompassing and without exception. However, the following is a list of dress rules that Avallone stands by. Some of these rules are without exception, such as not wearing a crew neck undershirt when the top button of the shirt is left unbuttoned. Other rules have exceptions, like the rule that a man’s socks should match the color of his pants. The rules presented here are taken from many different sources including tradition, classic men’s dress rules, and personal taste.

        1. Match the metal of the bit on your loafers, belt buckle, suspenders, blazer buttons and cufflinks.
        2. You do not need to match the metal on your watch with the other metals you are wearing, however, it is preferable.
        3. You can wear black shoes with a navy suit/pants.
        4. One must only wear black, brown or oxblood (burgundy) leather shoes for business dress.  The only exceptions allowed are white bucks.  Blue, green or any other colored shoes are inappropriate.
        5. One shall match the color of his socks with the color of his pants.  As an exception, socks can be matched to something worn above the waist such as a man’s shirt, tie, pocket square or suspenders.
        6. One must match the color of his belt to that of his shoes.  This holds true in all situations except when wearing white bucks.
        7. You do not need to match the leather on your watchband with that of your shoes and belt, however, it is preferable.
        8. Wear a belt when wearing pants with belt loops.
        9. Never, ever, ever use your belt to hold accessories like beepers, phones, Blackberrys, ID tags and/or keys.
        10. If pants do not have belt loops they should have side tabs and/or  buttons for use with suspenders.
        11. You shall never wear a tie and pocket square of the same pattern.  The talking heads that do this on television look like fools.
        12. One must not wear a French cuff (double cuff) shirt without a jacket.
        13. You must always doubt salespeople and in-store tailors opinions on fashion, style and fit. The stores they work for pay them, not you.  Their motives are to sell products to who will buy them, not necessarily to who will look best in them.
        14. You must not wear slip on shoes with a suit.  In fact, they should be avoided.
        15. Never wear flat toe/square toe shoes.  They should be avoided like the plague.  They are cancerous to a man’s wardrobe.  They are aesthetically offensive.  Their sole purpose lies in showing men what not to wear. 
        16. Patent leather shoes are only for black tie (semi-formal) and white-tie (formal) occasions.  Patent leather is never acceptable to be worn in a dress or causal setting.
        17. Never wear a long necktie for a semi-formal (black tie) affair, even if that tie is solid black.
        18. You can wear brown suede shoes for business dress.  They are elegant and gentlemanly.
        19. Do not wear Chesterfield coats, which are typically signified by a velvet collar, with anything of less formality than a suit.  They should not be worn with business casual attire.
        20. Do not wear a tie without a jacket.  If done so, you will run the risk of looking like a waiter at TGI Fridays.
        21. Do not wear suspenders without a jacket. 
        22. Only wear suspenders that utilize buttons, not clips. 
        23. Do not wear a crew neck undershirt when the top button of a shirt is left unbuttoned.  When leaving the top button unbuttoned you must wear a v-neck undershirt.
        24. One can wear brown suits for business dress.
        25. Only wear shirts with white collars and white cuffs with a jacket.  These shirts should not be part of a business casual wardrobe, that is, one where suits are not utilized.
        26. Leave the bottom button of vest (waistcoat) unbuttoned.  Except when wearing a double breasted or flat bottomed vest, in which case the bottom button should remain buttoned.
        27. Iron the collar of a shirt before wearing it.  Creased collars caused by dry cleaning and hanging do not follow the natural circularity of one’s neck.
        28. Utilize a pocket square when wearing a jacket.
        29. Pocket squares are underrated, underutilized and most importantly they are awesome.
        30. Do not wear a shirt with any type of logo on it in a business setting, including when in business casual dress.  These shirts should be reserved for casual wear.
        31. Wear your tie bar at a slant, not horizontal.
        32. Off color shirts with a white collar should have French (double) cuffs, regardless of whether or not the cuffs are white or the same color or pattern as the shirt.
        33. Life is more fun in a tuxedo (dinner jacket).
        34. Never button all three buttons of a three button jacket. Sometimes the top, always the middle and never ever ever the bottom.
        35. Wear over the calf socks as opposed to crew socks whenever possible.  They are far superior in both form and function.
        36. Do not wear a solid black suit for business or professional activities.  Save it for formal events and funerals.
        37. Style is a state of mind.
        38. It is impossible for a man to be considered well-dressed if his shoes are in poor taste or of noticeably poor quality.  Any good ensemble is built on a fine pair of shoes.
        39. Do not wear sport sunglasses with a suit.  It’s like wearing socks with sandals; everyone else knows its wrong, why don’t you?
        40. Do not wear a sports watch with a suit.  It would be like playing lacrosse in dress shoes, and no one wants to see that.
        41. There should be no presence of logo or branding when wearing a suit.  For example, do not wear a Polo shirt with the Polo logo on it under a suit jacket or a Burberry tie with the Burberry tartan (although the scarfs are fine).  The emphasis of a suit should be the fit, not the brands it is worn with.
        42. It is better to be overdressed than underdressed. A man does not need an excuse to wear a tie or jacket.  In other words, a man does not need an excuse to dress up.  Despite the fact that in today’s society it seems he does need one.
        43. Never, ever, ever wear a black dress shirt with a suit (or a dinner jacket/tuxedo for that matter).  Just because they may be or may have been ‘on trend’ does not mean one will ever look good on you.
        44. Take off your sunglasses when talking to someone else who is not wearing sunglasses, unless you are at the beach or pool.
        45. Take off your sunglasses when inside. 

        The Leather Weekender Bag – Why Do You Need One? December 29 2014

         

        A couple months ago I was invited to attend a friend’s investment seminar over in Los Angeles, California.

        I’m always grateful to be invited to such events, and putting my best foot forward at all times is important. At events like this you are bound to meet potential investors and business partners everywhere.

        Even when checking in at a hotel lobby.

        As I was standing in line – a young professional woman complimented me on my weekender bag.  She was curious as to where she could find one for her father. I smiled as moments like this are always a great way to bridge the conversation into a meaningful personal or business connection.

        As most people already know, first impressions are important.

        The non-verbal messages we send go beyond our clothing.

        The way in which a clerk or your fellow traveler relates to you initially is determined by what they see. Our choice of luggage and accessories signal to those around us whether we are a frequent traveler, business executive or a first time tourist. Many people would rather be seen as an experienced traveler, even if they are not.

        With that in mind – it’s important that a man own quality traveling tools that make his journey easier and identify him as a professional, or well organized person, even when traveling for pleasure.  The classic leather weekender bag is one such tool – a piece of luggage that should be in every traveling man’s closet.

        What Is A Weekender Bag?

        A “weekender” is a gentleman’s travel bag designed to hold the necessary clothing, toiletries, and incidentals for a long weekend trip.

        This style of overnight bag is a step up from an ordinary backpack in terms of both carrying capacity and style. It’s a roughly rectangular, soft-sided bag that unzips across the top lengthwise, and usually features both a shoulder strap and a briefcase-style handle.

        A true weekender should qualify as carry-on luggage for commercial flights. Roughly speaking you should be looking at a bag that’s about 1′ x 1′ x 2′, or in that general size area.

        Typical materials are leather, canvas, or some combination thereof.

        Styles can vary widely, but good ones usually come in either a business style (dark colors with minimal contrast) or a nautical/sporting style (dark cloth with light-colored leather, or vice-versa).

        What about wheels? – If you’re packing that much stuff the classic leather weekender bag is not for you!

        What’s Is A Weekender For?

        The weekender pretty much says it right in the name: it’s meant for overnight or weekend trips where you’ll have a couple changes of clothes, your toiletries, and not too much else.

        A weekender can fit a sport coat in a pinch, but it’s not made for lugging your suits around. They’re mostly meant for casual business and personal travel rather than conferences or business meetings. That said, if your line of work doesn’t require you to wear a suit, by all means rely on the weekender as your business travel bag too.

        Air travel is the primary purpose but not the only one — a weekender makes a fine gym bag or even beach bag as well, and it can fit a whole picnic including a bottle of wine (get the plastic wine glasses, though; you don’t want glass shards in the bottom of your good bag).

        Why Do You Need A Weekender?

        The weekender is your upgrade/replacement for a backpack or an elegant substitute for wheeled travel luggage.

        A regular two-strap, school-sized nylon backpack is, let’s face it, a kid’s tool. It does a great job lugging textbooks and pencil cases around, and when you wear one that’s what people are seeing: a school kid. Fine when you’re flying back to college or going out on a camping trip, but not great for walking around a city (for those interested in a more professional and stylish backpack, the Antique Leather Backpack by Avallone is a great alternative to the standard nylon school pack).

        Your wheeled travel luggage is perfect for the week trip to your consulting gig in Atlanta – but it’s designed to be a practical work-piece for the road warrior.  The weekender leaves the wheels, and does a better job balancing an elegant look with functionality.

        Switching to a weekender gives you a bit of class. It also gives you a timeless look — men have been carrying the same, soft-sided luggage since the days of cross-continental rail travel.

        Even if you don’t travel for your job, you want one of these in the back of the closet for unexpected trips. They’re the perfect houseguest bag as well as a good business bag. Any trip that’s not long enough to warrant a big, checked-luggage style suitcase is one where you’ll get good use out of your weekender.

        What Makes For A Good Leather Weekender Bag?

        Many companies make these bags, under many different names (mini-duffel, travel bag, overnight bag, weekender, etc.). So what makes a good one? Check for a few details that show good construction:

        Material – You want a tough bag that won’t show wear-and-tear. Leather usually makes the best exterior, as well as canvas too. Contrasting Leather handles and siding, whether material or color, add class and a little extra style.

        Build Quality – Pay close attention to the stitching, the thickness of the leather, the steel used on the zipper.  These are the areas that fail first – make sure they appear durable otherwise you’ll have problems later down the road. All of the Avallone leather weekender bags come with a lifetime warranty. With that option, you have free repairs or replacements for anything that might fail.

        Color – Dark is more businesslike; light is sportier. Figure out which one you need. Black or Brown luggage is pretty much always safe. Navy blue or grey is nice if you’re looking into a canvas bag.

        Size – Always small enough to fit within overhead compartment regulations, but close to as big as you can get within those. You should be able to fit a doubled-over sport coat neatly across the bottom and still have plenty of room for your other gear. A tennis racket also makes a good guide — if you couldn’t fit the head of a tennis racket (with the handle sticking out of the zipper) in the main compartment, the bag’s a little too small.

        Inside Pocket – A classic weekender will not have compartments on the inside – however it should have at least one pocket for important paperwork, jewelry, or other small valuables.

        Outside pockets – Usually not very common, but nice to have if you’re going for a more sporty look.

        Straps – You want tough straps that are (and it’s hard to emphasize this enough) long enough for you. If you’re a tall man you may need to buy your own strap for the longer shoulder strap. The bag loses its sporty flair if it’s hiked all the way up your shoulder blades when you sling the strap across your chest. Thicker leather or stuffed cloth handles rather than plain webbing straps are nice for the briefcase-style handles, too; they’ll be less prone to digging in if you have to hold the bag for a long time.

        Ribbing – A sturdy bag will have bands of cloth or leather running around the width of the bag at multiple points. These soft “ribs” give it some structure without making it inflexible. Bags with plastic ribs sewn inside the cloth are cheaper but more prone to breaking, and the ribs can tear through the lining on either side, ruining the bag.

        How Much Should A Weekender Cost?

        A weekender bag will usually run you anywhere from $100 to over $600 for a luxury designer piece.

        My opinion is to pay for construction over brand name – if it’s a well-made bag you could easily end up using it for the rest of your life and passing it on to your children.  Of course my personal recommendation is our very own Avallone First Class Traveler Duffle Bag. It’s made in Italian Napa leather, lined in suede, and comes with a lifetime warranty. I may be biased, but I do know good quality, and how to guarantee it. Take a look around, but you may not find the same quality, style, and function all in one piece.


        Manners Make the Man December 26 2014

        “Respect for ourselves guides our morals. Respect for others guide our manners.”

        -Being Caballero

        Most of us have seen or met someone, be it a lady or a gentleman with manners that appear so second nature to him or her that you couldn’t imagine that person any other way. These experts on all the finer points of etiquette exuded proper elegance merely with their presence. They never seem to need to raise their voice to get anyone’s attention or lift a finger to define their intent and yet, they possess a glaze so powerful that it could easily burn a hole through a brick wall, much less your soul, or a smile so comforting they could get away with murder. The secret behind such power and influence is quite simple: manners.

        Manners are the basic building blocks of civil society and the greatest accessory any man can have after his confidence, something to be discussed on a later date. The reality is that good manners, combined with a confident smile will open more doors that money or power ever can. The same way the Samurai turned bowing into an art and the soldier turn the salute into a precision science, manners show a person’s discipline and principals with every action. It’s these small details that will define you as a Gentleman more than any suit can, although the suit does help immensely.

        Manners are not about what fork to use or about how to hold your glass of wine. That’s etiquette. If etiquette is the science of proper behavior, manners are the art of social interaction. Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. It means you care enough about those around you that you respect them. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, regardless of how far you bowed or if you picked the wrong knife. Your actions and behavior must reflect your principals. If you don’t believe in them and are simply repeating pre-practiced actions, they will look forced, fake, and even insulting to any onlooker.

        No amount or power of money is a substitute for proper manners and no suit can hide a person’s vulgarity

        Holding the door open to the next person in line, helping an old lady carry her groceries or letting a lady pass; these are not signs of superiority or inferiority, but rather of manners and respect, for yourself and for the other person. It’s all about being considerate.

        Many people today have chosen to ignore even the slightest consideration to social behavior, assuming that, for example, their financial status will compensate for this lack of consideration or that manners are a sign of weakness in a society dominated by egoism and vulgarity. In either case, the lack of manners simply demonstrates a lack of social understanding, and further more a true dislike of self. No amount of power or money is a substitute for proper manners and no suit can hide a person’s vulgarity.

        Proper manners and behavior not only show off who you are as a person, but actually have the effect of enhancing how you present yourself, your image, the message already presented to others by your style. Consider this next time you dress up, or simply go out. Remember that no accessory you wear will cause an impression as favorable on others as proper manners.


        6 Men's Style Rules to Live By December 24 2014

        Every man has asked themselves about matching their socks with their trousers and other assorted questions at some point in their lives. Here I have listed six important men's fashion rules to live by which should at least clear up some confusion about a few things.

        1. Always match your belt with your shoes.This is a good rule to follow and it keeps things simple. It's best to stay with traditional colors such a black, dark brown or a rich tan. Other colors will be difficult to match, and generally speaking, should be avoided. If you wear sneakers every day that probably means you are wearing jeans in which case I suggest trying a belt made of fabric or something equally as casual, but please avoid dress belts with jeans and sneakers. If you wear suspenders, I am compelled to ask you why, but I digress. Just don't wear a belt and suspenders together, it's one or the other.

         

        1. Matching Ties and Shirts.For while the solid-colored shirt with a tie of the same (or slightly-off) color was seen everywhere. This is now a somewhat dated look. Try mixing things up a little and experiment with colors. Ties are great way to express yourself, but keeping it tasteful is your best bet. You can't go wrong with diagonal stripes, modern polka-dots, plaids and subtle patterns. Just make sure your tie compliments your shirt, suit, sweater or whatever you will be wearing it with. Novelty ties are best avoided since the novelty is short lived.

        Note: Ties should be tied in whatever style most strikes your fancy. You should know that there are many different ways to knot your tie, and different knots say different things. I prefer the Windsor or the four-in-hand, but I do suggest that you explore a little just for kicks. As for clip on ties--just say no.

         

        1. Pleats vs. Flat-Front. Why so many men have avoided flat-front trousers has always been a mystery to me. Flat-front trousers look better than pleated pants, at least most of the time. Plus pleats make you look less slim. I have heard guys wear pleats because it’s more comfortable or because flat-fronts are more for athletic bodies. Truth is most men can wear a flat-front trouser. If you want more room then buy them a little big and have them brought in at the waist. This can be done at the store where you buy your clothes or by an independent tailor. And lastly, flat-font trousers are much more fashionable. How do you feel about pants with pleats?

         

        1. Socks. The more official rule on socks is that they should match the color of your pants, though preferably not the exact same shade unless, of course, you are wearing black in which case it's okay. However, I personally like to wear socks with patterns, such as stripes in various colors. But I do try to match my socks with my pants and shoes. To quote Glenn O'Brien from GQ magazine, ". . .you will ultimately realize that beyond the valley of rules rises the mountain of aesthetics, the peak of which (if there is one) is always shrouded in beautiful clouds of various hues, many of them resembling certain of my more unusually hued socks."

        Note: Although it should be obvious, white socks should be reserved for the gym.

        1. Watchesare the single most important accessory a man can own. I really suggest investing in one good watch that suits your lifestyle and taste. However, if you are someone who likes to own more than one watch, wear the appropriate timepiece for your outfit: black band with black shoes and belt; brown band with brown shoes and belt; and silver band for either. See our Watches for Every Dress Code for a selection of new styles.

         

        1. Eyeglassesare one of the few ways you can really express yourself. I have worn glasses for many years and I love having a few pair in different styles. They don't have to just serve a function, but can enhance your overall look. Do your best to find a pair of glasses that not only compliments the shape of your face, but also expresses your personality. Ask people who wear glasses for a place where you can get good advice about what shape and style looks best for your face shape and features.