July 13th, 2010

James Bond Style Review: For Your Eyes Only

In his fifth film as Bond, Roger Moore, the longest serving Bond, travels to Greece to retrieve spy equipment. Amidst the gorgeous scenery, he gets help from Carole Bouquet, who seeks revenge on the villain who’s trying to steal the equipment as well. It’s one of my favorite Bond films for those two reasons, the scenes and the costar. It can also be great inspiration for style this summer.

After a short sequence showing Bond visit the grave of Theresa Bond, his wife from OHMSS who’s murdered by SPECTRE, the real plot begins on the St. Georges of Valetta, a British spy ship. It contains ATAC, a typewriter-looking device used to communicate with missile subs. Check out the officer’s white shirt. Expect to see more like it in casual wear this fall as military-influenced clothing picks up steam.

This is a military style that hopefully won’t catch on. Keep your collars to yourself. The man is supposed to detonate ATAC when the St. George sinks. The race to retrieve ATAC commences the plot.

The Havelock clan. The father, sporting a laid-back sailor look with a rough oxford and jeans, (love the belt) is trying to find ATAC. That is, until he and his wife are gunned down. His daughter Melina vows revenge. (Melina means Honey in Greek, a reference to the 1st Bond girl)Emile Locque at the hitman's estate

The man who payed to have the Havelocks killed. I’m not sure what’s going on with his suit jacket; it appears to be double breasted with a notch lapel, though it features a very odd arrangement of buttons: “Four on four,” which means four buttons on the jacket, four buttons that are supposed to be buttoned. The more common styles, “four on six” or “two on four” leave two buttons on the top, wider apart than the other buttons, that shouldn’t be buttoned.
Captured...though not for long

Hey, it’s James Bond! Surely there’s no risk in letting him live, right? Bond, and his capturer to the right, are how you wear business casual in the summer. I don’t know if khaki suit is linen or cotton; but, either way, it beats the heat.Bond in Q's lab

I would like to take this opportunity to point out that Moore’s collar sticks out too much in the back. It should show, at most, half an inch. There, I corrected Bond’s style. Never thought I’d be able to do that!
Bond and Melina at St. Cyrils

Before he meets up with Kristatos, who, though he doesn’t know it, is behind the murder of Melina’s parents and after ATAC, Bond strolls through Corfu, Greece. This, unlike the previous picture, is how you pull off a double-breasted jacket. And no navy blazer is complete without nautical buttons…Fitting, considering Bond’s background.Two unlucky gamblers

The trademark casino scene. This one features two of the most oddest neckwear ever to grace a 007 film: A 19th century style cravat, on the left, and an enormous bow tie, on the right. Typically that bow tie style would be called “the butterfly,” though its size prompts me to label it “the pigeon.”Milos Columbos sharing a drink with Bond

Turns out, the guy Kristatos blamed Melina’s parents’ death on is a good guy. Meet Milos Colombo (played by Oscar winner Chaim Potol), Greek smuggler and Kristatos’ rival. White pants? Check. White belt? Check. Double-breasted jacket with brass buttons? Check. This is a nautical outfit. And what better pose than bringing alcohol?

Bond and Melina preparing to salvage the ATAC

Ivy Style wrote last week about yellow oxfords – underrated, underworn, and quite difficult to pull off without a tan. Luckily, that’s not a problem for a man on a boat.

Ok…there was really no way I could NOT include a screen of Q dressed as a priest.

In the rare moment that Bond isn’t sporting his Rolex Submariner (1962-1989) or Omega Seamaster (1995-present), he’s got a gadget on his wrist. The Seiko H357, as profiled on the website Bond Lifestyle, can be purchased here. Bond hands the watch to a parrot, who masquerades as Bond to PM Thatcher as Bond skinny dips with Melina.

A fitting end to a Bond movie dominated by summer and nautical influences. If you’re looking for attire to wear to the beach, or to Greece, consider For Your Eyes Only. This is one of my favorite Bond films, partly because of the Melina, whose emotional attachment to the plot and mature demeanor work perfectly with the aging Moore.

All photos taken from DVD, courtesy United Artists.

July 13th, 2010

Current Contest Rundown

Breaking news! You don’t have to pay for a spiffy new tie…you can win one!

Well, Table for Five loves our neckties and wants you to have your own free necktie! Ends 7/18

Good Luck!

July 12th, 2010

Weekly Roundup

They’re not watches, they’re “horological machines.” At least according to the company that designed this watch profiled by Por Homme. Explanations fall short of a picture:

An "horological machine" from MB&F

Only $158,000! The company’s line of watches is worth a look, though. Eye-candy, you know.

The Rake is a Singapore-based style magazine. Luckily, Christian from Ivy Style did an interview for the Rake, which is posted in full on his blog. (in English) The subject matter? Madras. Interviewees a Brooks Brothers merchandiser and legendary NY clothier, so be sure to stop by.

If you want to be stylish this fall, all a man has to do is wear camo. A camo jacket Spotted recently on runways and style icons, Rob Sawyer wraps up appearances and looks, including an awesome camo-colored jacket first posted at Selectism.

I’ve never paid much attention to notebooks. Typically I just use a 3 ring with plastic covers for all my college classes. However, Syed from Dapper Kid has me thinking differently. I don’t know if I’ll buy one, but his review of an Asda Notebook sheds light (or ink…bad pun) on what a notebook should look and feel like.

A Continuous Lean visits the Levi’s Tailor Shop in SF, where denim-lovers can view old merch and purchase customized patches. A store stop for anyone who loves unique jean jackets, a blog stop for anyone who loves pictures of jeans.

The Levi's Tailor Shop in SF

Thinking style? Think Italian. However, as Vir Beatum of Being Manly writes, buying Italian clothes in Italy is a fool’s errand. Better to go elsewhere to look for goods, like the stunning plaid jacket he picked up from an Italian manufacturer…outside Italy.

Beat the summer heat! How? Well, the answer does not include shorts, T-shirts, or hitting the pool. As Social Primer writes, instead, try summer fabrics. Woven cotton, unlike the common knit cotton, doesn’t absorb heat. Plus, linen, wrinkles aside, is “the greatest woven ever weaved.” Do yourself a favor and pick up some real summer fabrics.

A club collar with a collar pin

“Club collars” are shirt collars with rounded edges, typically in contrasting white. A collar pin is an almost-forgotten hardware that connects the two ends of the collar underneath the tie. Combine the two for ultimate dandyness, at An Affordable Wardrobe.

Watch photo credit: BF&M

Camo jacket credit: Selectism

Levi’s photo credit: A Continuous Lean

Club collar: An Affordable Wardrobe

July 8th, 2010

What To Look For In A Summer Watch

I’ve been thinking about watches lately. Specifically, what sort of watch is appropriate for casual summer dress? My dad was shopping for watches at Kohl’s, so I asked the jewelry saleswoman the same question. She responded that large, and metal watches are in.

Well. I have a couple of problems with metal watches as casual wear in the summer. First is, they’re too hot. Men’s wear is concerned with style, though it should never substitute it for practicality.

Second, I simply cannot stand the big watch fad. For some reason, men are buying gigantic watches. I admit, my wrist isn’t exactly giant. But the bestselling men’s watch on Amazon, regardless of how useful it is, is ridiculous:

the casio atomic watch

Leaving these two trends behind, what are the better options?

Casual dress usually implies brown – brown loafers, brogues, or sandals, brown belts. If that’s the case, a leather-strapped watch is a perfect fit. Unfortunately, brown, the more casual choice, is rarer than the black bands. Moreover, I’m cautious of square faces, which appear too feminine. Add that filter, and you’ll be hard pressed to find much selection. Furthermore, since my watch should be casual, I want to avoid gold. Here’s what Amazon offers.

the skagen brown leather strapped watch

I’m a huge fan of this sleek Skagen. Just look at those lines.

swiss military watch

Check out this one from Swiss Military as well.

The other option is a field watch. This is a basic metallic face with a nylon strap. A watch like this is perfect for canvas shoes and nylon webbed belts. Though you can, theoretically, replace the band with a leather watch and sneak the watch into my former category, my choice would be to buy a selection of colored nylon bands. They’re cheap and a perfect way to adapt your wristwear to shorts, shoes, etc. Try these two stores for bands – Central Watch and Gnomon.

Citizen eco watch

This Citizen is popular.

an army surplus field watch

Or, if you’re feeling bold, try this cheap alternative from a surplus store.

Just avoid giant watches and take heed of the formality of your watch. More gold and a black band = more formal.

July 7th, 2010

Team Edward or Team Jacob – Who’s Got Better Style?

Quick disclaimer, I’m not a raving Twilighter. However, I can’t ignore two stars who have captured the attention of many, many females.

Their early, pre-Twilight days

Ok, ok, if you want a more recent picture than “R-Pat” as Cedric Digory and Lautner as Shark-Boy, here’s corresponding GQ covers, linked to stories about each in the magazine:

Robert Pattinson on the cover of GQTaylor Lautner on the cover of GQ

Twilight fans have practically developed a new literary style, the “Edward vs Jacob” post. Which one is worthy of Bella????????

Don’t answer that. Anyway, how do they dress when they’re not guided by the staff at Gentlemen’s Quarterly? Thus, I present my style-themed “Edward vs Jacob” post. Who dresses the best?

ROUND 1:

The Twilight cast at the MTV VMAs

Rob goes for the casual look (with two? buttons unbuttoned) while Taylor needs to wear a suit larger in the chest. Also showing some chest. Except no hair to complement. Plus, I’m not sure how I feel about that suit’s color.

WINNER: TEAM EDWARD

ROUND 2:

Taylor Lautner and Robert Pattinson of Twilight

Taylor should probably take care of some of the break in his pants. Little too baggy. Pattinson, imo, blows him out of the water in this shot. Leather? Black jeans, sans belt? Why the heck not?

WINNER: TEAM EDWARD

ROUND 3:

Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner of Twilight

Pattinson again sports the untucked shirt look. Plus a herringbone jacket? Ch-yeah. Meanwhile, Taylor can’t find pants that fit him. He doesn’t know how to tie a tie to the correct length, either. And the monochrome look went out with Regis Philbin.

WINNER: TEAM EDWARD X 2. DOUBLE VICTORY.

ROUND 4:

Taylor Lautner, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart at the 2009 Comic-Con

Taylor – try something besides black. I don’t know how I feel about Pattinson’s shirt (and its buttons), so I give this one a tie. (also, Kristen Stewart wtf)

WINNER: TIE

ROUND 5:

Taylor Lautner and Robert Pattinson at the MTV video awards

I don’t like the look of Pattinson’s undershirt. So you know what?

WINNER: TEAM JACOB

FINAL ROUND:

As much as I like Pattinson’s bold choice of brown shoes, I just can’t give this one to him. Light skinned people need higher contrast clothes, Robert’s ensemble is anything but. Lighten up, blood sucking hearthrob. Since Jacob’s pretty dark, all black works.

WINNER: TEAM JACOB.

FINAL SCORE:

TEAM EDWARD: 5

TEAM JACOB: 3

ANALYSIS: Taylor Lautner is dark, which allows him to wear darker, less contrasting clothes. That’s my hunch as to why he wears black so much. Pattinson, on the other hand, is as pale as…a vampire. Also, Pattinson’s def got the hair, which enforces the casual look he attempts with an untucked shirt. It works. Finally, Taylor, quit wearing skinny ties. You’re not a huge guy, but you’re pretty buff for your height. Skinny ties work better with lankier, smaller frames like Pattinson’s.

All this should be taken with a grain of salt – Taylor Lautner is younger than me. I didn’t dress sloppy when I was 18, but I didn’t dress better than Taylor.

Since Edward won, I guess I’m Team Edward now. Go team.

ECLIPSE PREMIERE UPDATE: Can Jacob pull a last-minute win?

Taylor Lautner and Robert Pattinson at the Eclipse premiere

Yeah right. Pattinson’s maroon suit pretty much dominates this whole photo.

Cedric Digory/Shark Boy photo credit: EOnline

Covers courtesy GQ

Round 1 photo credit: MTV

Round 2 photo credit: JustJared

Round 3 photo credit: JustJared

Round 4 photo credit: Socialite Lite

Round 5 photo credit: NewMoonMovie.org

Round 6 photo credit: Zimbio

Premiere photo credit: Getty Images, via Gawker

July 6th, 2010

Knots and How To Make Them

A couple of days ago, this pamphlet turned up at my house.

The cover of my knot book

It came from my neighbor, who apparently inherited it from someone else. The book was published in 1942. Flipping through the book brought me back to my Scouting days.

This is how the book starts:

The History of knots

Yeah, haven’t you head of Og? You know, the Son of Fire? I can’t tell if that’s sarcasm or genuine storytelling. The rest of the book is filled with oddly humorous illustrations:

A knot tying contest

Note to self: When taking part in a knot tying contest, make sure to avoid grabbing the rope as thick as your leg.

How to tie two half hitches

The Two Half Hitches is one of the more common knots used in Scouting, but not common enough for me to remember outside Scouts. The illustration shows a cowboy taking down a bear with a half hitch. Uh, what?

The slippery half hitch

I’ve encountered many monkeys in my days of tying slippery half hitches.

As I read it, I realized how many knots I’ve forgotten.

How to tie a bowline

A Scouting staple. If you want to form a loop that doesn’t move, learn the bowline. (Pronounced BO-lin, not bo-LINE)

How to tie a tripod lashing

Both the path to Eagle and a special set of summer camp ranks special to my council, known as Firecrafter, required me to make a “camp gadget” with lashings. Both occasions, I opted for the simplest gadget possible, a tripod like the one pictured with a lashing on top that allowed me to hang shoes, gloves, etc on top of it.

How to tie a timber hitch

At Scout “camporees,” patrols attempt different challenges related to Scouting. One such was the log pull, in which a timber hitch was tied around a log and used to pull the log a certain distance. The rules weren’t very tight, so when a guy in my patrol simply picked the log up and carried it to the goal, we made good time and were rewarded with an excellent score.

How to tie a clove hitch

The clove hitch is one that I actually remember. When tying it, an “X” should be formed around the post. Pull the end under the X to finish.

It has little to do with neckties, save this excerpt:

In the early days of mariners, the knot which tied a sailor’s neckerchief about his throat was considered a symbol of good luck. Although its meaning has been long forgotten, the same knot is used today in tying an everyday four-in-hand necktie.

Well there you go. Consider tying knots as important as tying ties.

July 6th, 2010

Lose The Socks During Summer

One time I wore Sperry Topsiders with socks and shorts. (There, I said it!) For those of us outside the men’s style bubble, rules about when to wear socks take a backseat to the more common rules, like match your belt to your shoes. Anything beyond that is fair game.

If you follow men’s style, you know that the no-sock look is stronger than ever. However, regardless of your style knowledge, you should at least know style rules. Coincidentally, following these style rules about wearing socks will help you mask much greater style sense.

  1. No socks with shorts
  2. No socks with deck shoes
  3. No socks with sandals

#1 assumes you aren’t wearing athletic shoes. This list excludes athletic wear. Oh, you’re wearing Reeboks while eating dinner? That’s another monster which I won’t dare tackle here.

When I wore socks with Topsiders, my reasoning was that my feet got all hot and sweaty without socks. After all, men’s style should never dominate practicality.

Which is why you need loafer socks. Basically, these are below-the-ankle socks. They’re a little harder to find than regular ankle socks. Put This On wrote earlier about possible options for men’s loafer socks. They’re too expensive; I just want cheap cotton socks so my feet don’t smell.

Solution: Women’s loafer socks. I went to Pay Less and got 3 pairs of Nike women’s loafer socks for $10, a better price than any offerings on Put This On’s post. There’s really no practically difference; I just suppose that women exhibit a greater demand for loafer socks than men.

That’s a shame, because it shows few men aren’t attempting the no-sock look. Think about all the possibilities: Sneakers, loafers, brogues, desert boots, deck shoes…Pretty much any shoes you wouldn’t wear with a suit in the summer. Losing the socks (or at least donning loafer socks) emphasizes your shoes, instead of the white cotton typically covering your ankle. If you’ve got good shoes, you want to show them off. You’ll also appear much more stylish than you actually may be.

#1 and #3 Photo credit: Sartorialist

#2 Photo credit: Ivy Style

July 6th, 2010

Current Contest Rundown

Who doesn’t like free neckties?

Well, Table for Five loves them and wants you to have your own free tie! Ends 7/18

Outnumbered 3 to 1 also wants you to get in on the action by giving away a $25 gift certificate. Ends 7/15

Good Luck!

July 4th, 2010

Weekly Roundup

If you’re frustrated by the selection of men’s shirt sizes, Torrey from Men’s Playbook feels your pain. He runs through stores and the success he’s had with each one in finding shirts with relatively small necks and long sleeves. Helpful for any guy with unique measurements.

Remember Ask Jeeves? Before Ask.com shed A.J. from their name, (he’s still part of the default skin, however) the butler would rephrase your question and attempt to answer it. The original Jeeves, a creation of humorist P.G. Wodehouse, steered his boss away from bold wardrobes. Quotes and an embed of a TV show based off the character, at Mister Crew.

I'm at a loss for words.

For every bald (or balding) guy on the US World Cup team, there’s a player on another team with absolutely embarrassing locks. Ape to Gentleman looks at the worst haircuts of World Cup soccer players. Beware.

Though I typically prefer working out in an air-conditioned gym, especially in the summer, this post about outside weight training has me thinking otherwise. Just A Guy Thing profiles equipment designed especially for outside use, instead of those boring free weights. Maybe if it gets cooler…

A poster sponsored by the WPA

I really love cut-out style art, so United Style’s WPA-era posters was a favorite find. They’re all picked from the Library of Congress. At the time, the gov paid struggling artists to create posters for monuments, public works, public health, etc. Maybe the Obama should enact a similar program for struggling bloggers…Anyway, parts 1 and 2.

Quick, look at your collar! Does it have buttons that attach the ends to your shirt, or is it a spread collar? As Ed Seyler of Seemingly Seamless Arguments writes, the former, known as the button-down collar, is decidedly casual and should not be worn with a suit. I’ve seen too many friends intermix spread and button-down collars with the wrong jacket. Please, heed the occasion when buying collars!

Granite bowls and cups

A Time To Get’s post about granite kitchen wear brought me back to my Scouting days, when there was nothing better than some hot chocolate or oatmeal in a granite mug or bowl. These colorful Ebay finds are perfect for outdoor use. And for visitors to your kitchen to marvel at.

Happy 4th!

Bad haircut photo credit: Ape to Gentleman

WPA credit: LoC

Granite cups photo credit: Ebay

July 3rd, 2010

Tie Storage: How To Store Your Ties

Whether to roll or hang ties is a topic of hot contention among tie enthusiasts. Blood has been shed; friendships, destroyed; ties, ripped. Ok, slight exaggeration. But for those of you who wonder, there are pros and cons to each:

Rolling ties eliminates wrinkles while preventing permanent ones from forming. However, rolled ties take up more space and are harder to take in and out, and try on than hanging ties. Make sure to roll from the narrow to the wide end.

Hanging ties is said to cause permanent wrinkles.  On the other hand, hanging ties is a good way to organize space and access all your ties at once.

An automatic tie rack.

If you want to hang ties, you can buy the racks that hang from your closet, a rack that you can screw to the wall or a motorized rack that allows you to easily peruse your neckwear. (like the one pictured) Be mindful of how much space you have, and how many ties you need to hang.

A good rule of thumb is to keep your commonly used ties on a tie rack in your closet, while storing the less used ones rolled in a drawer. When hanging your ties, don’t opt for a simple hanger; hanging ties on a hanger practically invites them to slip off and wrinkle. Either way, make sure your ties keep out of sunlight as well.

You might consider rolling a tie up for a day after wearing, in order to lose the wrinkles, then hanging it back up. Don’t wear a tie for two days in a row; it needs time to lose the wrinkles from the knot.

If you wear knit ties, be sure to store them flat, instead.

And please, please please please, untie your tie when you take it off. Don’t simply pull the narrow end through the knot; instead, undo the knot in the opposite order you tied it in.

Photo credit: Elitong Electronic