The finished folded Murphy desk, with a freshly cut looking glass. (at Lovelette Home)
- 4 weeks ago
A watch given to me by Ambassador Harry Thomas, United States Ambassador to the Philippines.
(More on watches soon!)
Shoes to Booze In
Your query will be met with a request for your ID (and most likely laughter,) if you order a drink while lights are flashing from the heels of your sneakers.
Seriously though, you can’t order an old-fashioned while sporting your original Air Jordan’s, without expecting at least a slight snicker from the bartender.
When you reach that incredibly thirsty age, don’t forget to renew your driver’s license and, if necessary, update your shoe selection. What are the bare essentials for the twenty-year-old man? Well for most, it’s the first year they start to get serious about their future – meaning job interviews, internships, etc. – making formal shoes a necessity.
I checked around with male relatives and friends and asked them what they thought the bare minimum was for men of the legal drinking age. Surprisingly, the highest answer came from the least likely source: a twenty two year old who put himself through college and is completely self-sustained monetarily. He said seven. One pair of black formal shoes, one brown, one pair workout/running shoes, one pair of nicer or more formal sneakers, one pair of cheap sandals, one pair of all-weather boots and one pair of casually formal shoes (like Sperry’s, boat shoes or loafers.)
Most of my friends sided with my father, who thought five pairs would suffice. He didn’t think sandals or nice sneakers were a necessity for a 21 year old. The lowest answer I received was two: one pair of casually formal shoes (he specifically cited Toms), and a pair of formal black shoes. But I simply can’t see the devil’s advocate saying one could get by with any less than three. I’d add the sneakers.
But the overwhelming majority thought five pairs. And I’m inclined to agree. Taking all of the answers into consideration, I’d say it’s a fair compromise.
So for your typical 21 year old, the bare minimum is five pairs: Black formal shoes, casually formal shoes, sneakers, all-weather boots and sandals.
I’m not partial towards puddle splashing or anything, but one needs boots to keep the rest of their collection safe against the elements. I never publicly wear sandals unless standing on a beach, but I still need them for use as shower shoes. A pair of cheap ones can cost as little as five to ten dollars. And I’m nearly positive you’ll end up on a beach at some point.
Five might be the minimum, but I still like the answer from my financially independent friend (after all if he can afford it, almost everybody else should be able to). That’s not to say you should keep your selection small. If you have the resources, by all means splurge a little. I have over twenty pairs of shoes, so who am I to encourage a limit?
The Power of a Bowtie
Recently I heard about a guy who wore a bowtie almost every single day of his college career. It was his trademark, and I wish I had thought of it first.
People are nicer to you if you’re wearing a bowtie. Plain and simple.
Wearing one for the first time the other day, sixty-one different individuals said something nice about my appearance. About a third of them were strangers. Most made a direct reference to my choice in neckware. But every single one of them greeted me with a big smile.
As I was leaving a building, a girl with rainbow hair caught my eye. I could tell she had been staring and when I turned to look at her, she grinned and called out, “Bowties are cool!” I didn’t know whether to thank her or agree so I just chuckled and dipped out the door.
While I was picking up a package, the woman behind the desk told me how much she liked my tie. She said, “it gave me personality.” I could have been the biggest asshole she’d ever met, but it didn’t matter – I was wearing a bowtie.
At one point I passed a plot where the skeleton of a building stood. From the metal girders where they sat with their lunches, a group of female construction workers sent a chorus of catcalls hurtling in my direction. One of them let out a long, old-fashioned whistle.
Okay, maybe that’s stretching the truth a bit. But the point is that bowties surround you with an aura that catches the eye of everyone nearby. For some reason, they all want to know why you’re wearing one.
My outfit cost around $1,000 altogether. Onlookers didn’t care that my herringbone blazer cost around $600. Hell, even my socks were about $25. All that mattered was the cherry on top: a $22 bowtie.
But why is that? The bowtie has become a phenomenon we associate with tuxedos and soda jockeys. It’s now a symbol for a special event. Everybody wanted to know why I was “so dressed up” that day. I would usually respond with, “eh, ya know, just another day,” but only some would buy that. The rest looked at me like I was a lunatic.
Us young people aren’t used to seeing the casual bowtie. It’s just not something our generation associates with the everyday. The necktie is mainstream, and bowties seem old-fashioned. Who would think to wear one on a regular day?
Therein lies the power of a bowtie. It’s a secret I’d rather keep to myself.
My Cap’s Off to Who, Exactly?
Early on in high school a friend of mine came to eat dinner at our house. Since I forgot to warn him, Zach sat down without removing his baseball cap.
“Take your hat off at the table,” my Dad said without hesitation. Zach ripped the flat-brimmed cap from his head, embarrassed.
This is not to say that my father’s old fashioned or rude, but it’s impossible to tell what the general public perceives as the correct ‘hat etiquette.’ If you asked my Dad, he’d tell you, “No hats at the table or in a building.” Most would say those are rather high expectations. And they are; or at least by today’s standards.
I think it’s fair to assume people know not to wear a hat in a church or at a funeral, but where do we draw the line? What I’ve noticed is that we naturally progress out of the habit of frequently wearing baseball caps. For me, it was when I started to really care about the state of my hair. Plus hats don’t really go with button downs or tucked in shirts.
To be honest I hated the amount my Dad made me remove my hat. Church every Sunday, and at dinner every night. Being able to wear them in high school was a welcome privilege. I used to wear them religiously, and found the double standard between men and women infuriating. (Females can have their head covered in any situation – even during the Star Spangled Banner.)
But now I can appreciate the rule; and a good baseball cap for that matter. Hats were created to shield your eyes, face and head from the weather. Now they’re used as a daily staple, often worn in conjunction with one’s outfit. I used to match the subtler colors of my other clothes with the prominent color of a baseball cap, and I have a friend who has nearly 100 of them. He wears a different one every day.
Unless he becomes a professional baseball player or a rapper, work will most likely demand he stop this daily ritual. Personally, I think this is a shame. Not because I want to wear them myself. But people like them, and with the introduction of online shopping has come an explosion in variety.
If you think you can pull off the baseball cap look, there are two solid websites for your perusal. If you’re looking for a very specific style, or wish to customize your own then check out lids.com. If you just want easy browsing, hit up hatclub.com. They’ve both got a huge selection and feature styles from minor league teams (the kind you won’t see anybody else walking around with.)
So I say keep your hats. If you can pull the look off, and you honestly think it’s a better choice than just your natural hair (and it very well could be), then make a statement and don the damn things. Be respectful of decorum in certain situations, but don’t be afraid to casually look great with a solid hat. Just don’t wear one if you’re dining at my house.
Hat (Above): Red, Black, Metallic Gold and White/Hat Club custom New Era fitted/Featuring Cubs Batting Practice Logo
I was recently given a Polo jacket from my grandmother. I was close with her husband, “Poppa,” my dad’s dad, my grandpa. And once you’ve owned an article of clothing passed down through your family, you’ll understand how cool that is. It’s a special feeling.
The Polo jacket had a dollar in the inner pocket that hadn’t been touched since the last time Poppa had worn it. It’s supposed to be good luck – something very welcome in my life. But that isn’t what’s great about an heirloom jacket.
My buddy was given a suede short-cut coat from Gary Player about a year and a half ago. His grandparents had just moved back to their hometown in Bagnasco, a small town in Italy, after living in the States for forty years, when his grandpa – “Nono,” who watched me grow up, a good friend of my father’s and a great man – suddenly passed away. Whenever I see my pal wearing his heirloom jacket, I remember friendly “Nono” jovially calling out, “Steve!” and it makes me smile.
He walks in it with pride. Just like I do with my Polo jacket. But we treat the outerwear with the utmost care. After all, I want to give it to my son someday.
My feelings toward my Woolrich jacket are the same. My Dad gave it to me when I left for college my sophomore year, and I’ve worn it countless times. It is the most durable and attractive coat I own.
I asked him where he got it the other day. Puritan, a men’s clothing shop in Hyannis, Cape Cod, where most of our family is from. My Dad still shops there. I shop there. It’s great. Kerry’s the guy in charge of the men’s department, and he’s committed to customer service. If you ever go, ask for him, and you can tell him I sent you.
Talking about getting that type of jacket during his childhood, my Dad elaborated, “Back in those days, you didn’t have much, so my Mother always made sure we were clothed in Woolrich.” He had one navy blue one and one light blue one, and wore them all the time.
What’s special about mine is that my Dad wore it for fifteen years. It’s got a plaid interior. It’s got a great collar, and is easily layered. I’ve never seen one like mine except on the main character in Misfits (above), a British television show.
I think I can safely say I’ve never gotten more compliments on any other article of clothing. Do you know what I always respond with?
“Thanks. It was my Dad’s.” And that feels great.
Man-Thigh in All Its Glory
Click through to read The Manifesto for Chubbies. “Because your thighs will thank you.” Hah!
Because, why the Hell not, right?
Great writing on their site, cool shorts (The Def Leps are my favorite.) ($49.50)
What Do Tigers Dream of When They Take a Little Tiger Snooze?
If you didn’t get that reference to The Hangover, now you do. The man with the greatest last name in Hollywood, Galifianakis, wore these retro specs somewhere amidst the hilarity of that first movie.
BluBlocker is an incredibly descriptive name for these sunglasses. Lenses that quite literally erase all traces of blue coloring from your vision, so the world looks, “like, everything’s in HD,” says my friend. I’d say it looks more post apocalyptic – ever seen The Book of Eli?
These big frames were originally made for pilots, and my buddy says they recently went up in price. So buy them while they’re still cheap and fragile!
I just got two pairs in black and demi-tortoise. I wore them with a blazer and tie the other day, and nobody shook their fist at me from their widow’s walk.
Hell, go crazy, get the white pair. ($24.99)
Not an alligator, penguin, seagull, moose, or golden fleece. But a Japanese maple leaf? Now there’s a logo with some pop.
Hipsters, preps and stoners alike will be jonesin’ for these new threads. Yes the suspiciously five-pointed leaf bespeaks Boast USA, the preppy apparel company that’s guaranteed to have onlookers doing double takes. These classy polos hail back from the 70’s and 80’s when they were popular amongst tennis, golf and squash players.
Their scope is limited, and the women’s section contains even less variety than the men’s. But they offer classic polos, shorts, ties, tees, classic caps, visors, one sole blazer and a lapel pin. A goofy cartoon YouTube video loosely explains the history around the tennis company hailing back from ’73. They are making a comeback, the animation voice-over claiming, “It was for the irreverent gentleman: The guy who knew how to break the rules, and get away with it.”
The Classic Polos ($68.00) are Boast’s specialty. These two-button polos come in eleven solid colors, with highlights like Carolina blue and Kelly green. Made from hand-picked, Peruvian long staple cotton with real troca shell buttons (and yes, you’ll notice the difference), these sportswear icons are soft and loose fitting. Another item to look out for are the Club Ties ($120.00), woven from English silk and available in navy, bottle green or my personal favorite, burgundy.
If you’re the country club type, or just tennis savvy, you’ll probably want to check out the different pairs of shorts as well. There’s the Full-length Short ($50.00) with an 8-inch inseam or if you really like to show off some thigh, grab the Match Short ($50.00) with the same built-in liner and drawstring waist as the full length, but a 6-inch inseam.
Even if you’re not the hitting tennis courts on a regular basis, you can still appreciate their finely-crafted apparel. But if you do pick up your racket from time to time, or you’re partial towards relaxing rounds of golf, remember the words from their corny pseudo-historical YouTube video: That Boast was founded, “in an age where you’d grab a beer after a match, not a dumbbell.” Well said, Boast.
Twist-Lock technology toting Yurbuds ($59.99), that will never fall out - guaranteed!