August 13th, 2010

LEGO Watch Review, part 2

Last post I gave an overview of my experiences with LEGO watches. One of my favorite functions is that you can mix and match any color combination for the band that you’d like. So far, I have 1 C-3PO watch and 2 Classic Adult watches. Without further ado, here are some of my creations with my LEGO watch system:

yellow lego watch

As you can see, I only have blue and black faces and clips.

blue and yellow lego watch

red yellow and blue lego watch

This is one of my favorite combinations. Bright primary colors perfectly fit the somber colors I wear in the winter.

red white and blue patriotic lego watch

USA! USA! This is the watch combo I’m sporting right now.

red white and black lego watch

This uses the kid’s watch face. It’s too small for my liking.

blue green and gold lego watch

Thanks to my C-3PO watch, I’ve got these snazzy gold links, which contribute to my Notre Dame themed watch.

white and blue lego watch

Go Colts! Maybe this watch would mean more to me if I actually watched them…

yellow and black purdue watch

Go Purdue! (I didn’t have enough gold.)

red and white wabash lego watch

Go Wabash! As you can see, my lack of dial faces is really hurting some color combos. I would use the black kid’s dial if it wasn’t so small.

With each LEGO watch I possess, the color possibilities grow. They’re fun to wear and fun to create. Plus, they’re never more than $25. For a former LEGO maniac like myself who’s simply too old for toys, these LEGO watches fill the void. You won’t get more compliments for wearing anything else.

August 11th, 2010

LEGO Watch Review, part 1

I’ve been a LEGO fan my whole life. At some point last year, I recalled seeing a LEGO watch being advertised. So I searched for it on Amazon and found these. I thought they were the coolest thing ever. Each link can separate from the watch. Colorful, relatively cheap and incredibly unique. So I ordered this one:

A red blue green and yellow lego watchSo far, it’s been one of the best conversation starters I’ve over owned. Just look at it, all playful and bright. I realize it’s quite a step forward from your run-of-the-mill metal or leather casual watches. I prefer it to the bright Casio G-Shocks you see people like Justin Bieber wearing because it’s much cheaper. And, again, unique.

Wearing it can be a challenge. The plastic colors are typically brighter than cotton, so it’s a little difficult to match. I think it works best with somber clothes – if you’re wearing mostly whites, browns and blacks, then a colorful LEGO watch provides much-needed contrast and a spark of color.

Eventually, the clip broke. I attribute it to the fact that I was always taking it off when I was bored. Thus, I had all the pieces, but I couldn’t use it as a watch.

So…since all LEGO pieces are universal, why not order another LEGO watch? I wanted to get a little more variety with my watch colors, so I opted for a kid’s size. I realized that the face would be a little small, but I would still be able to fit it around my (relatively) skinny wrist. Moreover, the kids selection offers a greater color palette, including gold, white, and black, like the C-3PO watch I ordered:

A lego C-3PO watch

Not only did this solve the problem of the broken clip, since I could switch the new one to whichever watch I was wearing, but I now had black and white pieces to mix with. (However, I do regret buying the kids watch…There are adult sizes that have black and white.)

So…In the nine month period that I owned the first watch, the battery died twice. The first time, I figured it was a fluke and replaced it. The second time, I decided to call LEGO. (Why didn’t I call them when the clip broke escapes me.)

The result? LEGO sent me a new watch two days ago! It’s nearly identical to the first one. They didn’t ask many questions, I simply told them what happened, they found a spare and shipped it to me. I have many more color possibilities now, plus a new watch. This occasion makes me want to buy more LEGO watches. I’ve got my eye on this one.

Part 2 will showcase my awesome color combinations.

Photo credit: Amazon

August 9th, 2010

I Replace My Sperry’s Laces And Live To Tell About It

Today, I tried to replace my Sperry’s laces. Ok, I did more than try. I was successful. However, since the laces in boat shoes loop in and out of the cuff, inserting the first lacing was much more troublesome than it should have been.

Replacing the laces of my topsiders

The shoe.

replacing the laces of my topsiders

The desired laces.

So for the other shoe, I tried to pull the lacing through the eyelets by attaching it to the current lace. My first attempt was with simple floss.

replacing the laces of my sperry topsiders

A crude lashing of the two aglets.

replacing the laces of my topsiders

As I pulled the two laces through, their circumference immediately slowed progress. One lace could be pulled through fine; though an aglet attached to it caught on the canvas.  Because the old lacing prevented me from grabbing the new aglet, I tried a new strategy.

New idea: Fire. I held the two plastic aglets together and touched a lighted match to them. What could go wrong?

replacing the laces of my topsiders

Nothing much, they didn’t stick together at first because the plastic was drooping. (because it was melting…who woulda thunk it?) Unfortunately, the fragile connection soon snapped.

By then, I recognized that if I attempted to fuse the aglets again, I wouldn’t have any aglet to work with. So, I resorted to the tried-and-true-but-really-annoying method: pushing the aglet through the cuff’s eyelets, then holding the aglet in place with my fingernail while pushing the canvas back.

Result:

the final product

June 28th, 2010

Review: The BeSpeak App

Need directions? There’s an app for that. Want to waste time? There’s an app for that. Clueless about matching clothes? Well…now there’s an app for that as well.

Alan Flusser, famous for designing Michael Douglas’ wardrobe in the movie Wall Street and the book “Dressing the Man,” has created a free iPhone/iPod app to recreate this classic shot from Wall Street:

michael douglas from the movie Wall Street

Ok, you can do more with BeSpeak than that. BeSpeak starts by asking you personal questions – notably size (of neck, head, waist, etc) and skin/hair contrast. If you’re small, stick to small patterns. If you don’t have skin and hair contrast, pick contrasting colors. That’s the whole gist of the profile matching.

Once you’ve created a profile, you can customize four clothing items: Suit, shirt, tie, and pocket square. The colors and patterns of the items determine your skill and quality level. The skill level is interesting, but not very useful. The quality level is on a 10 point scale. Select colors or patterns unfitting to your profile, lose points.

Customizing your BeSpeak profile

Unfortunately, the wardrobe is quite limited. I couldn’t even create a gold solid tie, since gold isn’t a color option for ties. The closest was sea island yellow. Which isn’t very close at all. Suits fare even worse – though the base color matched, I was unable to recreate the colored pinstripes on my suit. There were only four available colors for accents.

Another problem I noticed was the absence of materials – after all, a brown tweed jacket will match quite differently than wool a suit of the same color. (It should also be noted that no option existed to determine individual trousers and jackets – suits only)

On the technical side, BeSpeak sports sleek graphics; but, for me, at least, very slow loading times hindered use. It might just be my iPod, though no other apps have slowed. Moreover, many of the clothing items I created the night before were reset the next day. Additionally, the startup is slow and somewhat pointless.

BeSpeak has a camera option when customizing clothing. This may be the solution to the limited options in customizing clothes. Since my lowly iPod touch doesn’t feature a camera, perhaps a reader can chime in?

BeSpeak is free, so there’s no harm in downloading. But, does it deserve a spot on your “main” iPod screen? Only if you have trouble matching colors to your body. This is its greatest strength – when customizing your colors, asterisks mark the colors that fit your skin and hair profile. But, as a demonstration of BeSpeak’s limited usefulness, clashing colors and patterns have little effect on the quality level of your ensemble. The following ensemble received an 8 out of 10 quality score:

BeSpeak's quality score

That’s the greatest drawback. BeSpeak concentrates primarily on your profile type, while ignoring the ensemble’s patterns and colors.

If nothing, you can at least experiment with the “create an ensemble” option. You might learn something from BeSpeak’s selections.

The Bespeak app

Gordon Gekko photo: Boston.com

June 24th, 2010

Seersucker For The Summer

I’m wearing seersucker shorts right now. This is relevant to you because seersucker is commonly attributed to men’s formal wear, whether you have any or not. I don’t have a seersucker suit; but, I can tell you right now, that, based on my shorts, seersucker is awesome.

an awesome pair of seersucker shorts

I got this pair from Kohls for about twenty bucks. I’m telling you, seersucker shorts might replace my impressive collection of plaid shorts. Here’s why seersucker is awesome:

First off, it’s soft, 100% cotton, a great break from the khaki shorts dominating summer casual wear.

Obviously, they’re perfectly suited for warm weather. Seersucker suits can truly save you buckets of sweat if you’ll be donning formal wear outside. Braving the summer heat never felt cooler.

Also, seersucker texture is uniquely varied. Just add a white V neck and your get-up’s half done.

However, they’re wrinkly. Draped over a hanger, they don’t shed the day’s wrinkles. Like seersucker shorts, seersucker suits won’t look as polished as wool.

Additionally, they require different upkeep than my other shorts. Apparently I can wash them, but not tumble dry. If you’ve got a seersucker suit, you might be able to wash the pants; but stick to dry cleaning the jacket, at least.

Am I advocating that you go out and buy a seersucker suit right this minute? Maybe. But you should at least consider some casual wear – shorts, pants, or a button-down. The texture is unique and ideal for humid or hot June/July.

Photo credit: kohls.com

June 14th, 2010

Fashion Accessories Under $30 You Can Give For Fathers Day

June 20 is creeping closer. What better kind of present for your father than one he’ll use this summer? He might have a large store of clothes accumulated from 20 years of being a dad, so why not get him some fresh accessories? Without further ado, my list of perfect Father’s Day gifts: fashionable accessories for the summer, all under $30.

a colorful nylon belt for fathers day

Summer is the time to shed that boring black belt for something more festive. Try this stripped belt from Topman. Pair it with light-colored sneakers and a silver-colored watch.

A stylish straw hat you can give your dad for Fathers Day

Hats belong primarily to generations before mine, aka, my dad, which makes this woven straw hat from Palmer Cash perfect. Check out the band – no matter where your dad is, onlookers will assume he’s on his way to some tropical getaway.

Get your dad a big beach towel for Fathers day

If you’re like my dad, you’ve been using the same beach towel for a million years. Or some time close. It might be time to switch. These huge striped beach towels from Land’s End are the perfect way to keep sand of your seat at the beach.

The perfect Fathers day gift – no-show socks

If your dad’s already got stylish summer shoes, but needs to eliminate the unstylish strip of white cotton that shows up above them when he dons shorts, you should consider buying him no-show socks. These socks from SocksFox will give your dad comfort when wearing loafers or boat shoes without that unseemly sock tip.

Get your dad white golf gloves for Fathers day

There are few stereotypes that go together as much as men and golf. So why not honor that manly tradition with a gift from the classic Brooks Brothers? These white golf gloves will make Tiger Woods look bad. Or at least a little off his game.

Aviators are a perfect Fathers Day gift

Ah, aviators. These have been around since your dad was born (probably) but didn’t explode in popularity until the 80s. For the baby boomer dads, this is a perfect reminder of their spotless (ha) youth. For the younger dads, this is their opportunity to join the “hip” kids. Either way, our version of the aviators will give him style without busting your wallet.

June 11th, 2010

5 Affordable Ties to Give Your Dad for Father’s Day

Ties are a classic Father’s Day gift. For good reason, too – no man has too many ties. Some men just have a lot. Why not use Father’s Day as an opportunity to bolster his collection, while avoiding strains on your budget?

So if you’re stuck for ideas, here are some popular ties from our selection, for $20 or cheaper:

A Hawaii tropical tie is the perfect father's day gift

What I like most about this tie is not its pattern, but its material – cotton. Cotton grants the tie a sort of laid-back look and feel to it. The tie’s tropical pattern enhances that feel. If there’s no other place your dad would rather be than Hawaii, but instead he’s at work, expressing himself solely through his tie, the Hawaii Paradise tie is a perfect inexpensive gift.

A black skinny tie is a cheap father's day gift

My dad loves to try to be hip. He doesn’t always succeed. However, one step he could take to lose 20 years from his wardrobe is donning a black skinny tie. It’s been “in” for a year or so among young people. I don’t know if it will reclaim its status as the go-to tie width, as it was when my dad was born. If it is, he can lead the charge with our black skinny tie, an ideally affordable Father’s Day gift..

The patriotic american flag tie is a great father's day gift

One problem faced by manufacturers of American flag ties is how to put a rectangular flag on a narrow tie. The Patriotic Flag Tie‘s design solves the conundrum quite nicely by splitting the stars and stripes down the middle. A line down the middle like this will make your dad seem even taller – what better Father’s Day gift could there be?

This silver and green striped tie is an affordable father's day gift

Green is the underused tie color. I understand it can be a little bright; but hey, it’s summer. This Striped Silk Tie isn’t bright; instead, it’s contrasted nicely with a silver background. This gift would look terrific wth a navy blazer or blue suit. And dads can always use more stripes.

Another trend among younger dressers today is a black tie on a black shirt. (Another black tie…Notice a pattern?) However, any dresser, dad or not, needs some contrast, which can be difficult with a black suit and black shirt. That’s why I like this Black Checked Silk Tie – the colorful gems provide the perfect amount of contrast. It’s versatile as well – pair it with a shirt in the color of one of the gems, instead of black. Your father will love this bold father’s day gift.

Are ties an original gift for father’s day? Well…you can be original in the tie selection. These five ties will be both easy on your wallet and pleasing to your dad.

June 11th, 2010

ABCNeckties.com neckties that look like Hermes’

After I wrote last week’s post about Hermes ties, I thought, “You know, ABC Neckties has a fair amount of ties that look similar.” Now, in no way am I trying to pass these off as authentic Hermes ties. Their detailed dyes and stitching is legendary. However, if you’re looking for less expensive alternatives that share similar colors and patterns to give your dad for Father’s Day, I have some suggestions for Hermes lookalike ties. Hermes on the left, ABC Neckties on the right.


If you like this Hermes tie, which consists of undulating parallelograms bordered with two lighter shades of blue, check out our Blue Silk Fashion Tie. Though rectangles have been substituted for parallelograms, the small geometric pattern bordered with lighter shades is strikingly similar.

This Hermes tie features a labyrinthine pattern, outlined by a darker shade of red. ABC Neckties’ Red Woven Grid Silk Tie, unfortunately, does not contain a labyrinth. However, it maintains the overall color and pattern scheme: A dark border creating small geometric red shapes. In this case, the shapes are squares.

Ah, pink. The manliest color. If you look closely, you’ll see that the white border creates repeating Hs. For Hermes, of course. In fact, even the pink spaces create Hs. I must admit that the Pink Checkered Silk Tie does not create As, Bs and Cs with its border, for ABC Neckties, of course. But it still features the same color contrast and size of pattern – pink squares with white outlines.

June 4th, 2010

Hermes Designer Ties Offer Luxurious Fashion Investment

My first experience with Hermes ties was when a pledge brother came home from France. He showed me a green tie with elephants on it; and, after I admitted I had never heard of the legendary brand, informed me how much his Hermes tie cost. My first reaction was, “who in their right mind would pay that much forgreen hermes tie a designer tie?” Well, personally, not I. However, style reserves a special place for indulgent luxury. Sometimes, the clothes you wear are not just attire, but investments, that will outlast wear, growth and trends.  The most famous investment you can make in designer neckwear is a Hermes tie, meticulously crafted and detailed. Though you can’t use the magnify option here, if you go to the website, you can witness the tiny threading and careful dye.

The founder, Thierry Hermes, started by making leather harnesses in 1837. His son added saddles. The next generation of the Hermes family leaders marked the brand’s entrance into clothing with a leather jacket, featuring the newly pioneered zipper. what a hermes tie label looks like For the next thirty years, Adolphe and Emile-Maurice Hermes introduced handbags, scarves, jewelry and, shortly before Emile-Maurice’s death, silk ties. The man credited with transforming Hermes into the luxury brand it is today is Jean-Louis Dumas, the great-great grandson of Thierry Hermes, and chairman for the past 30 years. He died in early May.

The prestige of the family-owned company, as well as the dynamic collection, inspires numerous fake Hermes ties, which guides like this one warn against. Hermes never discounts their ties or sells them to resellers. If you’re looking to buy Hermes ties on EBay, follow the guide’s advice about seller reputation, the direction of the twill, the “dovetail” fold on the back and the tag – it should read

“MADE IN FRANCE”

(a short numerical product code, followed by a two-letter location code)

“100% SOIE” (translation – silk)

There are two primary kinds of Hermes ties: The animal prints, which feature small patterns of elephants, bunny rabbits, penguins and other animals, and the geometric prints, which feature even smaller patterns. Quick disclosure: If animal prints are your tie print cup of tea, you won’t find much luck on ABCNeckties. However, if you’re not quite ready to invest $170 in a Hermes tie, ABCNeckties stocks much cheaper discount ties in small geometric patterns – check out the Cooper and Murphy silk ties. Remember, there’s a time to buy ties, and there’s a time to heavily invest in them.

a pink hermes tie

Label Photo credit: Ebay

Ties: Hermes