Great Christmas Gift Ideas for Men: Neckties: Give Dad, or any Other Man in Your Life, The Gift of Style!

A necktie can be a very personal gift, despite the slew of holiday advertising from other retailers that try to convince you to stay away from holiday hallmarks. By paying attention to what types of neckties the recipient of your gift already wears most frequently, you can begin to develop a pattern of taste that will allow you to pick out a similar or complementary product. When it boils down to the final decision however, many factors and questions immediately spring to mind.

Contemporary Styles and Colours

Popular styles in the necktie vary – depending on the age, occupation, and taste of the gentleman you might be buying the product for.

For young men, stripes are very much in style – the bolder the better. Be on the lookout for aggressive colours that hitherto may have carried a social stigma for being too effete, such as pinks, purples, and aqua. Do not be afraid to experiment; most stylish young men are not afraid of colour and will appreciate the challenge that a brightly coloured tie might afford them in expanding their accessories.

For older men, a tastefully patterned or perhaps even a paisley print might be a better choice – paisley skinny ties from TieSecret has made a return to the fashion stage and looks wonderful on a necktie with a jet black base with gold trim. Be on the lookout for wine, crimson, navy, gold, and silver coloured ties to impart a sense of distinguished and confident style.

Price Points, Name Brands, and Quality

It is recommended that you always purchase neckwear from reputable and trusted names in the fashion industry – designer neckwear can be affordable if you are a wise and patient consumer. A more modestly priced necktie from Geoffrey Beene, Calvin Klein, Ted Baker, or DKNY will last a great deal longer than a cheap imitation – and can be bought at the very same department store in most instances.

Some of the more luxurious neckwear to be found comes from designers such as Ermenegildo Zegna or Brioni – it is of vital important to purchase these brands directly from reputable menswear stores or from legitimate online dealers; eBay is filled to the rafters with third-rate imitations and knock-offs, buyer beware being a very wise precept to follow when considering a purchase of expensive designer neckties. Zegna and Brioni ties are handmade, extremely thick and supple, and extremely fashionable – oft-times several steps ahead of the competition.

Department stores such as Winners that focus on name brands often carry a full line of designer neckwear at fantastic prices – so be sure to spend some time hunting for bargains at like-minded outlets.

Final Thoughts & Recommendations

No matter what the tie, be sure that it is woven silk – not printed silk nor polyester. Ensure that it does not have any major hitches in the tie at the time of purchase; roll the tie over a few times to inspect it for stains, hitches, or pronounced wrinkles. Any tie is sure to accrue some amount of battle damage over its lifespan – but there’s no need to accelerate the process by buying a tie in less than mint condition from the retailer!

Always be confident in your selection – never buy a piece that only seems lukewarm to your sensibilities. This way you can be sure that your gift will be well appreciated and, best of all, you can have the pride of seeing it worn by that special man in your life!

Dirty Denim, Men’s Fashion on Sundance Channel: Director Douglas Keeve, Designers Chip & Pepper on Denim Style

Highlighting both the stylistic as well as the hard-nosed business aspects of the savagely cut-throat designer denim business in beautiful California, Sundance Channel’s web-series Dirty Denim is quick, informative, and extremely interesting for those who have a passion for looking good and dressing even better.

Chip and Pepper, Hudson Jeans, J Brand, Henry Duarte, and Other Designers

Dirty Denim, although a fairly brief webseries, chronicles the rise and continued flow of the denim wave – a huge resurgent interest in designer denim since the turn of this century. Peter Kim of Hudson Jeans opens up the first episode of the webseries (“Birth of Jeans”) with a very insightful statement to the effect that denim has become high fashion, it has expanded beyond its utilitarian roots and stands shoulder to shoulder with haute couture.

Chip and Pepper, as the central designers that the web-series focuses on, bring a dynamic and irascible humour to the show – their ebullient and playful personalities providing the perfect counterbalance to the somewhat serious business tone offered in most industry documentaries. The episodes vary in length, normally between three and five minutes, and are the perfect length to establish a point and see it played through in various instances.

Down and Dirty Denim Details – How Jeans are Made, Washed, and Stylized

The second episode of Dirty Denim is particularly interesting from a sartorial and stylistic standpoint – Chip and Pepper discuss the denim wash and detailing process. Explaining that the wash and dye process can be fairly expensive, and that each grind, hole, tear, and stitch has to be laid down and designed by hand – one can immediately appreciate the workmanship necessary to produce a designer pair of denim jeans. Jeff Rudes of J Brand jeans is particularly illuminating on this subject.

Taking a trip to the wash house in downtown Los Angeles, the twins immediately describe the wash process and provide a humourous interaction with what they term the developer, who creatively puts various designs on each individual pair of jeans.

Henry Duarte showcases a particular pair of what is commonly termed destroyed denim jeans, articulating just how much work and computerized design is necessary to produce these glamourous, cosmopolitan fashion statements. Beyond what appears to be simply-worn blue jeans, a myriad of design elements and aesthetic choices are necessarily made, intentionally producing a highly individual and stylistic product.

Directed by Douglas Keeve, Dirty Denim is a surprising little gem that stylish men should consider required viewing – particulary if one wishes to understand a little bit more about an industry that continues to be extremely lucrative and extremely influential in terms of both smart casual style and designer fashion.

Straight Eye for the Queer Guy, Men’s Fashion: Fresh, New Wardrobe and Clothing Suggestions for Gay Men

Gay men sometimes are beholden to a metrosexual stereotype regardless of their stylistic persuasion – whether they are couch potatos or do, in fact, dress to impress. Though this pre-emptive assumption can be beneficial or positive in the sense that many people perceive gay men to be fashionable and cosmopolitan, it can also lead to assumptions regarding fashion choices that simply do not hold water.

Conservative, Muted Colours with a Bold Accessory (Ties, Cufflinks, Eyeglasses)

Breaking the mould is one thing that should be at the top of all men’s lists, as nobody makes an impression without standing out a bit from the crowd. Challenging the flamboyant and excessive stereotype with a more streamlined, serious, and yet polished look is one suggested avenue for gay men who wish to strike out in an individualistic direction.

Fit is still supremely important, though it should be tapered in suit jackets and dress shirts without looking too tight – appropriate fit is not only aesthetically attractive, but it is comfortable and well-rounded. Just as suit jackets that are too large look slovenly and unattractive, the same holds true for suit jackets or dress shirts that are too tight.

Colour is another consideration, particularly in the sense that the liberalization of men’s fashion has increased the spectrum of commonly worn colours. What this means is that pushing the envelope no longer means only combining an entire ensemble of bold tones, but also the possibility of incorporating these bright hues via a striking centerpiece on a background of well-tailored, conservative base colours.

Gay men should consider choosing a mix-and-match approach to building an image that is both unpredictable and captivating; by selecting premium quality items from both conservative and bold categories (and accentuating the bold by limiting it to one exquisite centerpiece such as a gold paisley necktie or a nice pair of Dolce & Gabbana eyeglasses) gay men will not only display excellent taste in co-ordinating a wardrobe but will also find a greater range of individual expression that diverges in an unexpected yet professional direction.

Gay Fashion Faux Pas – No More Sockless Shoes, Boys!

One unfortunate byproduct of having crafted a market specific to gay fashion trends is the explicit possibility of crafting some truly horrific advice for men who are simply looking to improve their image. No larger culprit can be found than a receding insinuation that loafers be worn without socks.

No shoe, particularly leather shoes such as the high-quality designer footwear normally associated with this trend, should ever be worn sockless. Not only will wearing leather shoes or loafers without socks contribute to extremely smelly feet, it will also contribute to a pair warped, discoloured, and odorous leather shoes. For those who can’t relinquish their sockless revolution without a fight, sandals or the extremely interesting Sanuk brand of “sidewalk surfers” are the most appropriate forms of footwear that can be worn without socks.

Skinny jeans are another particular fashion faux pas that has been appropriated from the gay community and now is in widespread use by trend-seeking hipsters. Skinny jeans, without reservation, are not flattering on men in any context and cannot be worn in any professional capacity. Further, men of average build and those more heavyset will look absolutely ridiculous in a pair of skinny jeans.

By keeping a trained eye and a motivation for complementary mixing-and-matching that blends the best of both style worlds, gay men can express themselves without falling prey to aesthetic prejudice or sartorial pigeonholing – unable to be categorized, these men gain much greater power through the expression of their individual image and personality.

Fashion Tips for 2018, New Decade in Men’s Style: Sharp, Slim Fitting Suits. Dress Pants, Dress Pants in Vibrant Color

The new year, 2018, brings along with it some ineffable feeling of futurity, of a liberation of human expression and style that has been culminated over the past decade. Men have been released from the shackles of the traditional blue-or-black colour palette and seek to rival the opposite sex in their appeal to sartorial taste and personal expression through the medium of clothing.

A Taste for Tailoring, Custom and Handmade Dress Shirts, Suits, and Accessories

One of the major changes that will become apparent in the world of men’s fashion and style for 2017 and onward will be a noticable trend toward custom and handmade clothing and accessories.

ShirtsMyWay.com is just one example of how designer men’s fashion labels are facing great competition from new and intuitive companies. Custom made dress shirts and suits are becoming increasingly popular and affordable options (many services offering high quality dress shirts from ~$70 and suits from $350 – only marginally more expensive than brand name labels such as Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss, Stanley Lewis, and other established or upcoming menswear labels).

Custom made dress shirts and suits are also becoming much more affordable and popular due to the proliferation of online purchasing and marketing in menswear. No longer limited to brick and mortar locations for their wardrobe necessities, men from all walks of life and all vocations are choosing to shop online – customizing both their shopping experience as well as the product itself.

Handmade accessories are also becoming increasingly popular, particular on well-known sites such as Etsy.com. Cufflinks, neckties, and other excellent accessories such as stainless steel flasks and cigarette holders are readily available from the site, complete with affordable shipping and the extra gratification of having a handmade, personalized item as part of your wardrobe.

Designer Trends in Men’s Fashion, Hot New Looks for Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall

Designer trends for the upcoming year and decade will quite likely be extremely varied – as competition once again blooms from small independent designer labels online, traditional men’s fashion mainstays (even high-end designers such as Etro, Ermenegildo Zegna, and others) will need to compete both in pricing, quality, and aesthetics in a new and growing marketplace.

Modern (or perhaps, post-modern) fashion tastes show personality and expression beyond the typical norm – though a brief return to classic, conservative sensibility is evident during the current recession. Look for bright, bold colours in both abstract and complimentary prints to appear commonly as more and more men turn to increasingly liberalated colour palettes. Fresh greens, bright blues, and majestic pinks and purples look to make a great impact over the next decade – being complimented with stark black, tropical orange, and sunset reds.

Fit is the name of the game. No longer is there any reason to have ill-fitting dress shirts, suits, or even casual pants – custom and handmade tailoring can substitute for any traditional purchase with little additional expense. No longer constrained by budgets, men in 2017 and onward have full access to a variety of respectable online merchants that will provide perfectly customized and tailored clothing to your door for a fraction of the current market price.

All in all, the upcoming decade in fashion shows a great deal of promise for men who are looking to broaden their aesthetic horizons, expressing a personal and intimate image of themselves through increasingly affordable handmade and custom-made garments.

Dressing Like the Women of Mad Men Circa 1963: Vintage Fashions for the Career Girl of the Pre-Mod Era

According to the Mad Men narrative, the Madison Avenue advertising executives of 1960 saw women as one of two types — as either a “Marilyn Monroe” or a “Jackie Kennedy“. The structured, hour-glass silhouette of the era was exaggerated for the Marilyns and a slimmer, tailored, Chanel silhouette suited the Jackies.

Serious Undergarment Support for the Marilyns

To force a body into the exaggerated hourglass silhouette a woman usually had to endure an industrial-strength, corset-like girdle. The hourglass was further emphasized with wide, shoulder-bearing neck-line and the form-fitting “wiggle skirt”: form-fitting at the hips and narrow around the knees.

Joan, the newly married office manager on Mad Men, is the character to mimic to dress like a Marilyn. She wears dresses with the wiggle-skirt silhouette, and hour-glass-shaped ensembles to work; and pedal pushers with the wide neck tops at home.

Constructing the Wiggle Skirt Silhouette

A beginner seamstress can construct a wiggle skirt. Vintage patterns for these skirts are plentiful online, at sites like eBay and Etsy (they are also not hard to find at thrift stores). Another tactic is to buy a vintage skirt at a thrift store which is form-fitting through the hips, then take in the side seams of the skirt–tapering the silhouette narrower from the thigh to the hem, so the opening for the knees is just big enough to be able to walk.

Princess Waistlines and Chanel Suits for the Jackies

Slim hips and narrow shoulders lend themselves to the A-line Jackie-type silhouette. Jackies wear tailored dresses, with princess waists, in stiff fabrics, or any of the A-line, Chanel-type 3-piece suits (jacket, skirt, and shell top).

Constructing the Jackie Silhouette

Many vintage sewing patterns for the A-line, Chanel-type Suits can be found for sale online, but a beginning seamstress would find the task too overwhelming. Even a moderate-to-advanced sewer would find the lined Chanel Suit challenging. The beginning sewer may find a simple, princess-waist, A-line dress more manageable. (The tailored, powder-blue dress pictured below is one example)

The vintage Chanel Suit is a rare find at a thrift shop (often scooped up the second it appears on the rack by a vintage clothing dealer). To create the Jackie silhouette from vintage clothing, the easiest look is a straight, lined skirt, of substantial fabric (nubby wool or silk), and a cotton or wool shell top, with pearls and a high neck line, both in subdued colors: powder gray, powder blue, faded pink, dull sea-foam-green, etc.

Popular Psychology of the Era links Body-Type to Personality

A popular theory of psychology in the 1950s and 1960s, “Somatotype and Constitutional Psychology”, developed by William Herbert Sheldon in 1954, linked body-type to personality. The three Somatypes (body types) were Ectomorph, Mesomorph, and Endomorph.

An overly simplified version of the theory, for the purposes of this article, goes like this:

  • Ectomorph (thin and bony, tending towards thinking and restraining oneself)
  • Mesomorph (muscular and thick, tending towards labor/working and asserting oneself)
  • Endomorph (voluptuous and plump, tending towards feeling and indulging oneself).

To define the Jackies and the Marilyns of this era, one could say Jackie (an Ectomorph) was a thinking woman, and Marilyn (an Endomorph) was a feeling woman.

Peggy Olsen’s Disagreement with the Jackie vs. Marilyn Theory of Women

The character of Copy Writer Peggy Olsen, (on the Mad Men series), disagrees with her male co-workers – “What if you aren’t a Marilyn or a Jackie?” What if you tend toward thinking and feeling? But the men at the office dismiss her theory. An omen, surely, of things to come.

Hot Summer Fashion for Men – Staying Cool: Fabrics and Colours Can Keep You From Sweating Too Much!

Whether one is travelling south during the winter, going on a caribbean cruise, or simply calls a tropical climate their home – it is supremely important to invest in some warm weather clothing that will protect you from sweating and discomfort while out and about during the day. Many factors can influence your daily (and nightly) comfort, including fabric choices, colours, and even types of garments.

What to Wear, Staying Cool Under the Sun

A few garments and accessories to consider mandatory would be a pair of nice sunglasses, a beautiful hat to protect you from the bearing down heat of the sun, as well as chinos, polo shirts, short sleeve collared shirts, and a beautiful linen jacket. These are the staples of a summerwear wardrobe and are truly requisite for any man looking to remain stylish while avoiding discomfort while spending time out in the heat.

Some of the most popular sunglasses this season available to men are being offered by popular designers Dolce & Gabbana, or D & G. Some particular styles that are especially trendy for this summer include the Valentino and the Revo. Another popular designer in men’s summer eyewear is Christian Dior, whom is offering a few stunning models such as the Black Tie, and the Flavour. With beautiful tints ranging from mauve to chocolate – this year’s collection is hard to beat.

With regards to polo shirts, Lacoste is certainly one of the best labels on the market at the moment. With an accessible price point, being relatively inexpensive for designer menswear, it is truly great style for both young and old. Lacoste is famous for using very bright colours in their collections, helping to inspire a boisterous, youthful, energetic look that is still fitting and appropriate for more mature gentlemen.

Some of the standout contenders in the collection for this summer season include a vintage washed pique polo available in 23 colours, as well as a Silver Collection bead pique polo available in two colours in a contrast collar styling. Lacoste also produces a full line of menswear outside of their hallmark polo shirt product that is well worth looking into.

Finally, to top off any look ranging from a designer polo to a lightweight summer sport shirt, a linen jacket for strolling or for dinner is a near must for any sharp dressed gentleman looking to put a finish on a somewhat casual summer look. A more casual and modern look has been introduced by legendary designer Armani in the Guru linen jacket. Featuring a mandarin collar and large patch pockets topped off with contrast threaded topstitching – the jacket blends a slim silhouette with a very fresh and innovative styling. For another modern and stylish look, a cotton blazer is also a cool alternative – Calvin Klein offering a beautiful classic fit, zip-up cotton blazer for under $200 this season from their website.

Colours and Other Suggestions to Stay Cool

Lighter colours will benefit any summer wardrobe – not only due to their aesthetic value but also for the obvious practical reasons of repelling sunlight rather than absorbing it into the fabric. Black and other darker fabrics grow extremely hot under the sweltering heat of the sun and so it is best to ensure that your summer wardrobe is comprised of lighter, more vibrant colours for more than one reason.

Other accessories that are often forgotten about are socks – many men simply wear crew socks all year long without consideration to the temperatures of their feet in constraining footwear. While sandals may be a viable alternative with several beautiful styles being offered by quality companies such as Clark’s, many times dress shoes must still be worn during the summer months for formal or corporate functions. For this reason, men should surely invest in some SmartWool socks.

Despite the common conception that wool is hot, sticky, and wet – smartwool socks are comfortable both in the coldest months of the winter as well as the dog days of summer. Ensure that the socks are dress socks of a thin construction rather than heavier guage crew or athletic socks however – this distinction makes a world of difference.

Outfitted in the proper wardrobe a gentleman can have confidence not only in his image but also in his comfort – and that truly is the most important factor when faced with rising temperatures and bright, beautiful outdoor scenery.