Sunday, February 21, 2010

Just own it!

The last few weeks I have been blogging about current fashion trends, what to wear, what to avoid but my main goal in all of this is to have people wearing what makes them feel good about how they look. Some people follow the seasonal trends to a T, others have ignored them since they were old enough to make the choice. The majority are probably somewhere in the middle. These posts have been aimed towards those that don't follow what is going on in the world of fashion but are interested in changing, updating or making some minor adjustments to what they have hanging in their closets. I, for one, tend to have a clean-lined wardrobe in mostly gray's, blacks, and denim and update season to season with a new punch of color or print and perhaps the newest length of skirt, latest shape of a sleeve, or most up-to-date cut of pant. Otherwise I stick to my basics. That and my accessories. I don't care what the "experts" are saying about jewelry and footwear, I LOVE my chunky jewels and boots. Even if they have been permanently delegated to the "out list", I will keep them in my wardrobe as they are who I am, how I define myself and what others know as my statement pieces.

Many famous people in the arts, choose to wear all kinds of interesting ensembles and although the fashion critics have lots to say, most of us pay no mind to what they are wearing because they love their style and therefore own it. If your favorite thing is your pleated, cuffed khaki's worn with Nikes, then so be it. If your go-to accessory is a pair of leg warmers with harem pants, then you go. The key is to own your look. It is yours, work it!

Here are some folks that own their look and we know them for it. No matter how bold or simple, this should be the key to fashion for all.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Fella's, let me make this easy for you...

I started this blog last night and after an outing all over the city of Seattle today, I came home to start again. I had my observer eyes on today and did a lot of people watching. I really wanted to see what the men of Seattle chose to wear for Valentines Day. Sure, it's a day the same as any other but also a day in which many men were taking that special someone out for day of love. I have to say that despite a few pairs of Teva's with pleated khaki's and the like, men were doing pretty well. The main thing that stood out to me was that most men started out on the right foot but when it came to finishing the look, the shoes or coats were an after thought. For example, a gentleman had on great jeans and top but finished his look with gym shoes. Or the outfit was great but their fleece Northface, stole the show. Both the shoes and the fleece have their place in men's wardrobes but are better suited for a Saturday morning walk around Greenlake or a scheduled workout at 24 Hour Fitness. Paying attention to these details can really bring your look together.

For this Spring, there are a handful of items that the designers and retailers are showing for men. Knowing what these are, will truly assist with focusing on these overlooked details.

**Do to temporary (hopefully) technical issues, I am not able to load picture files into this blog at this time. To check out the corresponding photos to this blog, please have a look at my Pink Pagoda FB page where many examples are posted***

1) Military.

Nothing extreme, no need to visit your nearest Army surplus outlet. This military is being shown in t-shirts, shirts and jackets with structured pockets on the front in all shades of natural, khaki, browns and blacks.

2) A narrower silhouette.

Whether its a shirt, a jacket, blazer or pants. This is not a skin tight look but just a more streamlined appearance. The pants or jeans should be flat front with either a narrower leg or boot cut but not a full upper leg. The shirts, jackets and blazers are cut to skim the body and give a trim appearance.

3) Dark Denim.

This really should be a staple piece in all men's wardrobes. It looks dressier, its more suitable for the standard workplace and it is perfect for a night time pant to dress things up. Again, a narrower cut is what you want to look for with clean lines both in front and on the rear pockets.

4) Loafers.

This shoe can be found in the most casual style straight up through the dressiest. It is perfect with the slimmer silhouettes for spring, they have a clean line and they are comfortable.

All of these items can be found in all price ranges from labels featured at Mario's and Neiman Marcus right through to the Gap, J.Crew, and Banana Republic.

With listing these stores, I really have been on a search to find "man dedicated" stores where a customer can get really fabulous service with individualized attention for their particular needs. While there are lots of co-ed stores and even great men's departments in chain stores, it's not the same as having a local "man dedicated" boutique to feel like you are truly understood when looking for assistance. I have a list and because its not long, I have made it a PNW list vs. just Seattle. I hope to have more detail in a future blog but in the meantime, I hope this is helpful.

Seattle: Oslo's - A Men's Store

Vancouver, BC.: Harry Rosen

Mark James Clothing

Boys Co. (casual)

Portland, OR.: Blake (casual/denim)

Local 35 ("progressive casual clothing")

I hope everyone had a fabulous Valentines weekend with whatever you did to celebrate. Have a fabulous week and I will be back soon.


Monday, February 1, 2010

Listen Up Gentlemen.....

I have a few things to say. I'm veering back from my Valentines discussion to get more personal. This has been on my mind for awhile and by that, I mean years. Your wardrobe. Plenty of you are doing just fine, in fact, better than fine. There are some great male wardrobes out there. I do have to add in the fact, that I may be a little more judgemental then your average Seattleite as my formative fashion years were spent in Vancouver, BC. where men put a lot of thought into what they wear for all occasions. It was less about the labels and more about the style but the style was good. And it was consistent. When I moved here in the early 90's, to say I was shocked at the male fashion I saw out on the town, would be a major understatement. Slowly, over time, the tech world casualness quietly chipped away at my laser beam fashion eyes and they began to become blurry when a khaki short, hanes t, birkenstock wearing guy walked past me. And this wasn't at the beach or a daytime market, this was in a nightclub, in the city, at night. Aggghhh. People have been kicked out of Canada for lesser crimes! So, on with my thoughts. Because men don't have the constant trend changes that women have, season to season, it is probably easier to slip off the fashion band wagon and wear items longer than they should. I have three major ones that I want to touch base on. If you see yourself in these paragraphs and you know me, its not personal. Its just important! ;)

1) Work issued "fashion":

Clothes that are handed out at work, unless of course you work in a fashion establishment, are not for use outside of work. It seems obvious that a restaurant worker who has a uniform (ranging from McDonalds to the Georgian Room at the Fairmont Hotel) would not choose to wear their work clothes when their shift is over. So why then do we see so many work issued polos, jackets, hats, etc. being worn all over the place for what is clearly not a work activity. And then to put on your best work logo wear to go out for dinner on a Sunday (non work day!), not good. Yes, these clothes are usually free and sometimes even comfortable but that does not equate to a good fashion choice. Most of these clothes were created for trade shows, traveling sales staff, and conferences. Outside of those parameters, the only other acceptable usage is in the privacy of your own home. That being said, there are a few exceptions. I have been reminded that there are good North Face jackets or Patagonia fleece vests that are ordered with company logo's and what to do with those. Outdoor hikes, camping, running to Home Depot, those are fine uses. Going out for a nice dinner on a Saturday night. No. Think of it this way; wouldn't you stand a little taller, feel really good wearing something you chose for your self that says you vs. wearing one of 3000 shirts that were ordered by some admin. person for a last minute conference. Just something to ponder.

2) This one will be short. Cuffs on pants. We don't do this anymore. Sure, many stores will still sell this style if you would like it but you shouldn't. You may have many of these pants in your closet from years past and they still do the job. Time to move them along. Why, you ask? Because unless you are 6' 8", they make you look shorter than you are. Women are always worried about making their legs look longer by wearing the right skirt, cut of pant or shoe and men should think about this as well. Wearing a cuff less pant, gives you length. Length gives the appearance of being leaner. All in all, its a fabulous thing. While we are discussing pants, a side note for you. Pleats along the waist band are another feature from times past. Pleats can add weight to your middle. If you want a leaner look, a flat front pant is the way to go.

3) Last but not least, shoes. I think this is the aspect of apparel that truly gets forgotten. Whether it be comfort or just unawareness , so many people, men and woman both, forget to check this box. I think it is also out of sight, out of mind. Because you can't see your feet doesn't mean other's don't and it is so important for people to keep this in mind. Have you ever seem someone that has a great outfit on but then their shoes stand out like a sore thumb because they are falling apart at the seams? Unpolished? Don't match? Everyone needs to be aware of this. And running shoes, they don't go with clothes that you wouldn't wear to the gym. Shoe makers now have great casual styles that have the comfort of athletic shoes without that look. Nothing says old man like a pair of running shoes paired with office pants, jeans, slacks. Look for a great day time shoe in browns or blacks that will look good with your pants, save the Nikes for your trip to the gym. Just like women spend a little more on a good purse or two, do the same for your shoes. You wear them everyday so you need to have quality for your feet and a selection so you have a few choices. A great pair of shoes will truly complete your outfit.

Hope these recommendations are helpful, women please feel free to forward them on to someone you know that could use these tips. Next week I will have some men's do's to follow up after the don'ts. Have a great week!