Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Esquire 'How to Style' Guide

I just came across the funniest/most brutally honest article in Esquire Magazine: the 'How-To Style Guide' for men's weekend attire. If every male got dressed according to these simple rules, the whole world would benefit. By college-graduate age, the majority of boys know more or less the rules of dressing because most likely they have made a bad decision more than once. But that being said, I actually learned something about male fashion this weekend when I went to an upscale bar in NYC: wearing shorts out at night is a fashion faux pas. Guys will literally be turned down at the door, even if they are wearing sear-sucker or khaki. Go figure. Anyways, now for the list:

1. When in doubt: a white oxford shirt.
2. That being said, it wouldn't kill you to mix things up every once in a while. Pinstripe shirts are good. Windowpane, too.
3. Blue gingham. Trust us.
4. The closest a man should ever come to touching denim shorts is helping a woman out of them.
5. There is a name for men who can pull off wearing sports jerseys. They're called professional athletes.
6. "I'm on vacation" has never been a good excuse for anything, including doing body shots, ignoring intelligence warnings about possible terrorist attacks, and wearing whatever you damn well please.
7. A rugby shirt is the most masculine thing a man can wear.
8. The 1950s and '60s were the high points of casual. Everything before and after was hit-or-miss.
9. Fitted is good. Snug is dicey. Tight is just wrong.
10. Hemp clothes are great. If you want to smoke them.
11. Khaki pants will look and feel their best approximately two weeks before disintegrating.
12. The man who imparts opinions via T-shirt has neither the intelligence to form a cogent opinion nor the good sense to keep it to himself.
13. Small holes in jeans? Kind of cool. Small holes in sweaters? Pathetic.
14. Justin Timberlake doesn't look quite as good as he thinks he does.
15. When purchasing jeans, leave the acid, stone, and other artificial washes to the good people of Eastern Europe. The best way to break in a pair of jeans is to wear them as often as you can.
16. The shinier the shine or the pointier the point, the less casual the shoe.
17. A discreet paint or grass stain conveys a sense of lived-in comfort. The same cannot be said for stains from food, dirt, wine, or bodily fluids. That's just gross.
18. Denim is the center of the casual universe. And some things look better with it than others. A quick primer:
All the Time: Cotton button-down or T-shirt, brown loafers, navy-blue blazer, cashmere sweater.
Most of the Time: Crewneck sweatshirt, black loafers, tweed jacket, cotton turtleneck, white sneakers.
Only Sometimes: Hooded sweatshirt, high-top sneakers, sports jersey.
Only Under Duress: Waistcoat, silk shirt, flip-flops, necktie.
Only Under Penalty of Death: Cufflinks, suspenders, opera cape.
19. Everything looks better with age. Except for white T-shirts. Those look best new.
20. The Professor was the best-dressed man on Gilligan's Island, followed by Gilligan, Thurston Howell III, and the Skipper. Oh, and for what it's worth, Ginger. By God, Ginger.
21. There is nothing so wrong with one's appearance that can't be improved, however slightly, by tucking in one's shirt and standing up straight.
22. Always tuck: polo and dress shirts that hang below your hip. Never tuck: sweaters and turtlenecks. Everything else is negotiable.
23. Articles of clothing that you can dress up: polo shirts, khaki shorts, blue jeans, white sneakers, and, for Texans, cowboy hats and boots.
24. Articles that you can never dress up: sports jerseys, track pants, wifebeaters, Birkenstocks, and flip-flops.
25. The only ribbed items a man should wear are socks and condoms, and he best not confuse the two.
26. A $40 pair of jeans can fit you just as well and look just as good as a $200 pair. They'll just take a whole lot longer for you to find.
27. Cotton is the universal language of casual clothing. Wear it anywhere and you'll fit right in.
28. Sweatpants are for sick days, couch surfing, and light exercise. For anything else, throw on a pair of jeans and get on with it.
29. Athletes inspire the best sneakers.
30. Velour: no.
31. Never wear more than two denim items at a time. Scratch that: Never wear more than one denim item at a time, and make sure it's not a vest.
32. Michael Bastian. Tim Hamilton. Adam Kimmel. Learn these names, for they are the future of American men's wear.
33. To our knowledge, tank drivers never wore tank tops. If they did, we might like them better.
34. Khaki is a color. Chinos are a pair of pants. Know the difference but feel free to use the terms interchangeably.
35. Any man who plays contact sports while wearing a watch he values — formal, sport, or diving — deserves exactly what's coming to him.
36. Leather watch straps.
37. The more expensive a restaurant's entrĂ©es, the less comfortable you will feel in jeans. Unless, of course, you could buy the restaurant, in which case you can get away with anything you want.
38. Tennis and baseball are the most influential sports on American style. Discuss.
Tennis: Lacoste polo shirts, Rod Laver and Stan Smith sneakers, tennis sweaters
Baseball: Brimmed caps, three-quarter-length shirt sleeves, flip-up sunglasses
Basketball: High-top sneakers, mesh shorts
Football: XXXL everything
Boxing: Boxer shorts
39. No one you work with should ever see your toes or your nipples. Please dress accordingly.
40. Remove the brass buttons from your store-bought sport coat and replace them with buttons from a fancy golf club. It will annoy the hell out of the club's (real) members.
41. The button fly is:a) total bullshit.b) the latest battle in the decades-old war between the all-powerful zipper and button industries.c) a way to avoid tearing up your johnson.d) all of the above.
(Answer: c)
42. Animals make the best logos.
43. For bomber jackets, brown; for biker jackets, black. Deviate at your own peril.
44. Dress not like Kanye West. That goes for you, too, Kanye.
45. Before you buy a cashmere sweater, touch the fabric and then rub your fingers together. If it imparts any residue or feels slippery, that's a sure sign of bad or even fake cashmere. That and the forty-nine-dollar price tag.
46. There's a 74 percent chance that a man who isn't wearing socks isn't wearing underwear, either. Both endeavors attract the same kind of man.
47. Don't borrow any clothes from that man.
48. The best jeans have five pockets. The best khakis have four. Anything more or less and you're asking for trouble. Oh, and 1998 called: It wants its cargo pants back.
49. Unless you're wading into water or modeling for a catalog, there's never a right time to roll up your pants.
50. Unless he's a chef, a gardener, or a jolly fat man from Holland, no one should ever wear clogs in his daily life. Same goes for Crocs.
51. Speaking of: We're not sure what Americans did to deserve Crocs, but whatever it was, we're sorry. We're really, really sorry.
52. If you see the words "Barbecue," "Come as you are," "Bring the kids," or "BYO" on an invitation, dress casually. When in doubt, bring a navy-blue blazer.
53. Or a cardigan. A cardigan works, too.
54. The greater the number of exclamation points on an invitation, the more casual you can dress.
55. Unless he's headed to a black-tie wedding, a man always has options.
56. Even casual style demands good shoes. But not all shoes are equally casual.
57. Unless you're wearing a blazer, there's no wrong time to roll up your sleeves. How high you choose to roll them says a lot about you.
58. The solid blue button-down shirt is the Jay Leno of American style.
59. There are worse things in the world than being known as the guy who always wears a blue button-down. Like being known as the guy who looks like he just rolled out of bed or the guy who always smells a little funny. If you're going to settle on a look, get it right.
60. The baseball cap is America's greatest contribution to headwear. Runner-up: the cowboy hat.
61. Berets: no. Not in Paris, France, and especially not in Paris, Texas.
62. The overlap between active sportswear and casual party attire should be kept to an absolute minimum. Leave the neon shirts and pants for the links, the white tennis shorts to the courts, and the swimsuit at the pool.
63. There's no harm in letting yourself go, so long as you're never more than an hour away from pulling yourself together.
64. A hood knocks ten years off your age and twenty points off your IQ.
65. Sunglasses don't belong on top of your head, folded into the neck of your shirt, or hanging around your neck by some nylon cord. If you have to remove them, hold them or put them on a table.
66. A man of style never discusses the cost of his clothing, even if that fourteen-dollar sweater was a total steal.
67. We're all for comfort. Just make sure the damn thing fits.
68. If you're on the shorter side, vertical pinstripes help stretch out your legs.
69. There's not a whole lot of room for irony or imitation in style. The best-dressed men always dress like themselves.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

There's always going to be bad stuff out there. But here's the amazing thing -- light trumps darkness, every time. You stick a candle into the dark, but you can't stick the dark into the light.  -Jodi Picoult

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

goin' green

It's official: going green is trendy. Not only do we bring eco-friendly bags to the grocery store instead of using plastic ones, but it is cool to use these bags around town. Store inventories all over the place now include re-useable, environmentally-sound products that label their users as responsible and up with the times. Take these bags for instance, all made out of recycled material!

Music Panda Tote, Forever 21. I have a bag from Forever that is the same style, and I love the size.

Eco-Chic Tote Bags, Envirosax. These bags come in a million colors and designs. Adorable!

Reversible Bag in Hot Fuchsia Pink, Kim White Handbags. This company is so cool--all of her bags are made from vintage automotive fabrics!

Medium Zip Tote, Ella Vickers. This company is a personal favorite of mine--all of the products are made from recycled sail cloth. If you're a sailor (or you have an appreciation for all things nautical), you will LOVE her company. 

Harlow-Pebble Handbag, Matt and Nat. 100% vegan.

Scallop Clutch, Teich. This Brooklyn-born company is entirely eco-friendly, even in the big city!

ALSO: continuing along with the 'going green' trend, I discovered something fun today- Urban Outfitters' Build-Your-Own-Bike Shop! Don't click on that unless you have time to waste. I wish I could order my own custom bike. 

Hope everyone's weeks are starting off on a good note!

Friday, June 11, 2010

fashion friday: J. Crew sale finds

A good sale gets me really excited, especially when I actually need to buy clothes. Naturally when this happens I rely on J. Crew to help me out (mostly because they are always having some sort of sale). Yesterday was a success, so I thought it would be appropriate to share some finds with you.

Cashmere V-Neck Cardigan. This sweater is the perfect weight for an air conditioned office, and it comes in fabulous summer colors! It's also seriously on sale- $99 from $158. 

Cotton Featherweight Lynx Bling-Button Cardigan. The buttons are my favorite part!

The Kelsey Ruffle Top. I love the papaya, but it comes in a bunch of other colors as well. This is a classic that looks great with cardigans or with a blazer.

Linen Charter Skirt. This skirt is adorable, and it comes in black too. I bought two of them for work yesterday (this color and the black) and it was one of the best purchases I've made in awhile (well, one of the ONLY purchases I've made in awhile). They have a fun flair to them while at the same time they look put together. Perfect.

The Beach Chambray Lucca skirt. Obviously not one for the office but I LOVE it anyways- especially the neon waist.

3-inch Chino shorts. I probably own 6 pairs of these. They are wonderful for a weekend of relaxation. The 5-inch ones are great too. AND they're even a great price when they're not on sale- $39.50. 

The Sequined Raye Tank. I love sparkles, and this tank top has just the right amount.

CMG is moving into New York City tomorrow! I can't WAIT. I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

career ponderings

Time is flying by so fast I can't even believe it. I feel like it was yesterday that I still had an entire semester left in college, and now all of a sudden I have five days until my internship begins at J. Mendel in New York City. I'm really excited for this new beginning but obviously at the same time I am so nervous. During the past two weeks that I have spent at home, a lot of time has been dedicated to thoughts about what I would like to find in a career. The next few months will be dedicated to public relations work, which is the area that at least up to this point, I think I am most interested in. Here are the reasons why I think PR is so intriguing:

1.) Public relations is becoming increasingly involved in marketing techniques in digital media. While years ago it was a field that existed for purely tactical reasons, a major shift has taken place. In fact, with a blurring between PR and marketing, messages are easier to promote. Brand management now requires a multifaceted approach in our information society. In an article by Matthew Schwartz in the PR Factor he explains, “Cultivating relationships with consumers now requires an organic approach, which is built into the DNA of PR. Indeed, the core strengths of public relations—the ability to tell a story and spark conversation—play into the nature of such social media as blogs,  Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and forums.” In short, the strategic use of social media is, at the moment, a major contributing factor to a brand’s overall success.

2.) It is fast-paced and there is always so much to learn. Public relations professionals must be in the know at all times about the world around them. Our society is not a static entity—rather, it is changing all the time. New technology and social media networks are constantly being developed, and the active use of these new options and improvements play an integral part in any marketing campaign.  Staying on your toes is imperative in the world of PR.

3.) It is interactive. The senior VP of marketing and communications at IBM, Jon Iwata, reveals that while a PR professional does not control what a reporter publishes, “you must know how to gain trust, build relationships and shape views and opinions with credibility.” Forming these networks will take time and a lot of effort but is incredibly important. Learning how to build strong professional relationships is something I am really looking forward to.

4.) It involves writing. Social media is all about contributing to and tracking the blogosphere. A major value of PR comes with the integration of the internal and external, explains Phil Juliano, VP of global brand management and corporate communications at Novell.  Not only may a company share what they are thinking and doing with the public through writing, but a humanizing aspect is added to the corporate world as a whole. The fact that the public may now engage in conversation with companies is a large reason why PR is valuable to our entire society.

5.) I am very interested in small businesses. Learning how to develop a new business or brand into a successful corporation is absolutely fascinating to me. If this interests you too and you haven’t read Malcom Gladwell’s Tipping Point, I highly recommend it. It is a non-fiction account of how initially small ideas flourish into epidemic phenomenon.

6.) My degree in Sociology has taught me that our society is a much more complex entity than we initially perceive.  I want to further explore the ways in which we, as consumers, affect what stays on the market.

7.) I want to embrace my creative side and help it thrive. Compelling ideas are what stand out in the world of social media—but how do you come up with them? Observing other companies’ success, reading about new trends, and just being aware are my first tactics. 

There are so many things about public relations that I don't know yet, and I am equally excited to learn about those. It is an area that I am inherently interested in, and so I am hoping that there will be more 'ups' than 'downs' on a daily basis. Blogging about careers definitely helps keep stress levels down about the uncertainty of the next stage of my life, so thank you for bearing with me. At the same time that I can't stop thinking about a direction that I would like my life to take, I am aware that work should not take over my life. So, I decided to make another list.

Ways that I am going to keep myself centered:
1.) Reflect.
2.) Keep up with my blog.
3.) Keep in touch with friends.
4.) Get enough sleep.
5.) Read for pleasure and keep up with news.
6.) Visit my family.
7.) Take pictures. Photography calms my soul in a way not a lot of other things can.
8.) Go for long runs.
9.) Take a minute to slow down. The hustle and bustle of the big city should not be reflected in my every move.
10.) LAUGH. I don't think this will be too hard.

Anyways, I hope everyone is having a good week!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I am no longer afraid of becoming lost, because the journey back always reveals something new and that is ultimately good for the soul.   
-Billy Joel

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Le Pain Quotidien

I had the most delicious brunch today at my new favorite place on Greenwich Avenue: Le Pain Quotidien. It has a delightful 'community table' atmosphere where you can sit at private tables, or for the more unique dining experience, grab a seat at the long table where you share conversation with other groups. Today I had the daily special: whole wheat organic french toast with fresh strawberries and agave syrup. What's NOT to like about that? Le Pain has locations all over New York City and I am definitely going to take advantage of that when I make my move! I really cannot praise this bakery/restaurant more, so if you're nearby one of the locations, definitely stop by. You will not be disappointed.

Check out this article from the New York Times featuring Le Pain.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, June 4, 2010

fashion friday: business casual

There is something slightly invigorating about creating business casual appropriate outfits. Maybe it's the fact that you have the occasion to wear one, which means you must be doing something important, that provides the rush... or that this style is different from an outfit I would normally put together. Business casual is the 'dress' that most likely, a college graduate will come to get used to. I worked in the admissions office this past fall at my college giving interviews to potential applicants. The experience gave me an opportunity to figure out exactly what 'business casual' actually entails, and I found that Theory, J. Crew, Ann Taylor Loft and Gap provided consistent pieces for outfits time and time again. It's all about having plain basics, and then dressing them up a slightly different way every time with fun earrings, necklaces and scarves. I would like to share with you my mom's best words of advice: buy a good, quality (and hence, probably expensive) pair of shoes. Go to Nordstrom or Lord and Taylor and bite the bullet because your feet will thank you for years to come. Sure, maybe that means you only have a few pairs of shoes instead of dozens of cheap ones, but it is SO worth it. Comfort is key for a long day in the office, not to mention that you will feel like a million dollars with shoes you love. You will not experience the dreaded buyer's remorse if you follow this advice! That all being said, here are some outfits that I think are good examples of business casual:

See, business casual can be fun!


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Growing up is never easy. You held onto things that were. You wonder what's to come. But that night, I think we knew it was time to let go of what had been, and look ahead to what would be. Other days. New days. Days to come. The thing is, we didn't have to hate ourselves for getting older. We just had to forgive ourselves...for growing up.     
-The Wonder Years

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Container Store: the answer to my unpacking prayers

I have been home for three days and today I finally faced the inevitable: transferring my clothes from their huge, overstuffed duffle bags to my closet. The process of unpacking is entirely overwhelming and really gives me a headache/anxiety. It really wouldn't take that long if I just sucked it up and gave myself an hour to focus, but quite frankly that would make too much sense. Actually, the clothes aren't even the problem--it's the random things like desk lights, printers, text books and power cords that have me at a loss. Today was the day though, and I began the whole process. Besides making a good playlist to keep myself motivated, I would like to share with you fellow procrastinators of unpacking another gem: The Container Store. We have one pretty close to my house, and its the kind of store that has things you had no idea you needed. It provides a plethora of organizational options from containers that would fit my whole family to teeny little pill containers. For someone that can't stand being disorganized like myself, it is my haven. I spend waaay too much money every time I go in there, I swear I don't know how it happens. Regardless, it's a great place to be aware of if you aren't already.

These are my favorite containers, and have lasted me for many years. They are really thick plastic and come in literally any shape and size you could need. I use them for the things are out of season (currently they are full of ski clothes) and school supplies. They aren't particularly cheap but you only need to buy them once because they're definitely not going to break. AND they are clear which makes it so much nicer when you're scrambling to find something!

I have five of these that I used in my school closet for four years straight. These made my life a million times easier and gave me so much space, and now I'm going to use them at home too. I'm not kidding--these are one of the most practical purchases I have ever made. I seriously recommend them. They are indestructible and are a great option even if your clothes will be stored out in the open as long as you keep yourself organized!

These storage bags are awesome--great quality and very space efficient. I use these mostly for my towels, linens and other bed-related things that take up a lot of space. This way weight is minimized and they are easier to carry. I hate lugging bulky containers around when the things inside really aren't all that heavy, but I also want to make sure my things are protected from dust/moths, etc.

Anyways, those are a few of the reasons I LOVE the Container Store.

Completely unnecessary? Absolutely.