Archive for February, 2009

2009 Grammy Awards Photos

I’m a few days late, but here’s a few pictures from Sunday nights
Grammy Awards in Los Angeles
.

Jay-Z looked great.
(I heard he was pretty mad when walking the red carpet because of the Rihanna and Chris Brown news.

Nas chose to wear creme and white on the carpet and he looks really clean.

TI and his “situation” Tiny
T.I looks very nice and he looked even better live on the red carpet.

Anthony Hamilton and wife Tarsha

Robin Thicke and wife Paula Patton

Will.I.Am
His look is always different, but to be honest, I have yet to see him with a very cohesive look, something about the styling of his looks are always off…

Flo Rida

ColdPlay
I like it when groups match, but I’m not completely a fan of the colors of these jackets. I wish they were a few shades darker- making the look less playful.

Jaguars

Lady Antebellum

Jack Owen
I really like the color combination: grey, purple, and white.

ALOT OF THE GUYS WORE SHADES ON THE RED CARPET:

Ne-Yo and girlfriend
(he’s making sure the rumors of him being gay stop)

LL Cool J

Diddy
Very nice jacket…

Flo Rida
I wish he would have worn different shade- ones with a bigger frame.
The polka dot Tie/Pocket Square combo was okay.
(I guess he and LL were on the same page)

Jay-Z
Interesting pinky ring.

Big Boi
He looks sloppy. His jacket is too big and his pants are too long.
He should have gotten it all altered. And he should have worn different a different shirt, shoes, and hat.

Ne-Yo and girlfriend
Something about Ne-Yo always throws me off and I’m pretty sure it’s the tilting of the hat, but I guess he looks nice. His girlfriend looks good though.

T-Pain
Looking horrible as usual.

The Jonas Brothers
Looking flawless as usual

Young Jeezy
I must say, as a whole, the “gansta” rappers really dressed to impress this year.
They treated the Grammys like a black-tie event instead of like a night out at the club.
I hope they keep it up.

There he goes, our favorite guy… Lupe the Fiasco.

Jay-Z and Kanye backstage

The “Swagga Like Us” Crew minus M.I.A
Kanye West, T.I, Jay-Z, and Lil Wayne
(sporting a nice plaid scarf)

Sir Paul McCartney

Repping Georgia, the duo Sugarland took home 3 grammys!
Songwriter Jennifer Nettles and Kristan Bush
Black on black has been very popular on the red carpet this year so far.

close-up of Anthony Hamilton’s attire.
I feel like its too much, but I admire his efforts.
The tie on its own is cool because of the burgundy outline…
I wonder who made it. And I like the pocket square as well.
I’m just not a fan of the suit material he chose.

Summary of Looks:
-Black on black
-Shades
-Polka dots
-Scarves
Skinny ties, bowties, and velvet were also still heavily present.


Valentine’s Day Special: Urban Gentleman Valentine’s Day Advice

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Okay, I know I’m a little late with this, but I figure- better late than never, right? I was thinking about making this into a long guide type article, but decided against it after talking with a few of my female friends- it seems Valentine’s Day is about more than material things…. To help you guys out I asked a few women of different backgrounds what they thought would be the perfect Valentine’s Day gift or experience.

These are some of the answers I got:

“Teddy bears and balloons ended after pre-k. I had intellectual needs that a poorly-stitched bear and a ball of helium couldn’t satisfy… Needless to say, I like jewelry, getaways, panties, strawberry shortcake from Cake Love! But most of all, I love a gift that captures a part of our connection to each other and to God. No matter what the gift is, it needs to have some relevance to our relationship and show that somebody’s been paying attention.”

——————-

“Very ideally, I’d probably have to say it involves dating a musician who also happens to be a gourmet chef and tantric sex master who would welcome me home with an amazingly fresh-cooked meal, has written a song solely for me and the times we’ve shared, and so on… haha!

But more realistically, I would say that definitely the more personal the better. I look at it as a time not as much to reflect our past, but more a day dedicated to becoming even closer. Is there something one of us has always wanted to do or try? A certain restaurant, making fondue, going to play paintball, escaping to Canada, anything! just something that is guaranteed fun, and to strengthen that bond.”

——————-

“Jewelry… David Yurman to be exact. Panties, strawberries, and champagne compliment a Yurman bracelet well. A meal goes without saying. Unique luggage and plane tickets are always sweet too. Some may call it superficial, but its big fun and youthfulness! Plus, we all deserve it. :)

——————-

“My boyfriend surprised me one year. I thought we were going out, but when I walked into his apt there was a live band playing our song, and a candlelight dinner for two set up :) Very nice and thoughtful.”

——————-

It is absolutely the thought that counts. A gift that required days or weeks of planning will yield the best results.”

Standard Date/Remixes:

-A “romantic” Dinner/ A private rooftop candlelit dinner on a sky scraper in the middle of a big city

-A picnic/A homemade picnic dinner at twilight at the nearest beach

-Quality time together/Get a really nice hotel room fully stocked with food, drink, decorations (like white Christmas lights, candles, and flowers) , movies, video game console of choice (if you both play) and matching PJ’s. No cell phones or any other contact with the outside world.

I could go on and on really…”

——————-

Aside from one, the common thread in all these were the fact that each woman really just wants her Valentine to put real time and thought into what he does… She’d prefer a fun cozy night in a hotel with her favorite snacks and movies than a silver bracelet… but obviously she wouldn’t mind both.

If you absolutely without a doubt don’t have time to put alot of thought into your Valentine’s Day gift then you should just do the classics really well. Classics meaning = flowers, dinner, jewelry/gift. Have a dozen red roses delivered to her every hour for three or more hours during the day, take her out to eat at a really great restaurant (that you have spent some time researching), be really sweet to her while at the restaurant. Yanno- sit close, give her random kisses on the cheek and neck and present her with the gift- if it is small enough to fit in your pocket. Be sure to hold her hand as you all walk to the car, open her door- you know, show her that chivalry is not dead, lol. And when you get home…present her with the gift if you haven’t already. Then offer to give her a massage, then she’ll finish the rest…
For Restaurant Reviews: Zagat.com, Yelp.com, Dine.com
For Restaurant Reservations: Opentable.com or call the restaurant.

For Jewelry: Never buy cheap jewelry, by the best you can afford, don’t compromise quality. The Shane Company is always a superb choice as well as Tiffany’s and any other high end jeweler.

For Flowers: It’s always nice to patronize your local flower shops- they often have the freshest selection. If you need to order online try ProFlowers.com. But year after year I have always found that the Sam’s Club has the best flowers for the best price. If you go there by noon you should be able to pick from a plethora of fresh flowers (roses of every shade)- usually they’re 2 dozen for $16.99, but during Valentine’s Day they’re about $22 (for 2 dozen). You honestly can’t beat that!

Okay guys… I hope that helps!

The Wardrobe: The Official List of Clothing to Include in an Urban Gentleman’s Wardrobe.

Early last month I received an email from a gentleman in London who needed help choosing his college wardrobe. He had a budget of 500 pounds, which equals to about $1000 (if you round up) and he wanted to know what to buy. I started and stopped my reply to his email several times- changing the way I organized my suggestions each time, but now… almost a month later I have finished the email. And I’ve tailored it to be an article for everyone. So, below is a list of suggested items to buy if you’re in need of a new wardrobe. There is also advice on who to use as inspiration and much more.
*I get alot of emails from readers, and quite frankly I’m not able to answer them all in a timely fashion simply because I’m a busy person (sorry guys)... so if you ever email me it may take awhile, a long while:-(.

Side Note: The basic Urban Gentleman look is partially classic/preppy and partially fashionable/trendy. To be an urban gentleman is to be a modern gentleman- a man of style, class, culture, and of course one must have “swag”.




The Wardrobe

There are 3 main sections in a wardrobe: the core section, defining/signature section, and finishing touches section. And in a wardrobe, you need to be able to mix and match- so all the sections will include pieces that you will use to create a variety of looks and outfits.

The core wardrobe pieces consist of clothing that you absolutely require. These items are timeless and really capture the essence of any well dressed gentleman’s look. You literally can’t live without your core items and they should be a combo of (your) personality and practicality.

The next section or layer of your wardrobe should be 90% of you and your style and 10% trend. Sometimes trends end up being a part of your style and that’s okay. This section of the wardrobe should also include signature items. Basically these are the clothes that really make your look and captures the essence of your personal style.

The third section is all about finishing touches and extras- items that you don’t need, but really want.

Part I: The CORE

+ 2 pair quality dark denim jeans.
Straight, relaxed, or skinny fit and one boot cut ( needed for dress shoes and boots). [$250]
Example: Sevens for All Mankind and Express/Levis (one top quality brand and one good less expensive good quality brand).

+ 1 pair of khakis/chinos/trousers
Flat front or pleated depending on your size. Navy or khaki. [$65]

+ 1 cardigan in a neutral color
Navy, black, or heather gray. [$50]
Example: Ralph Lauren, Lacoste.

+ 3 quality white or black t-shirts
V or Crew neck (whichever you prefer). [$35]
Example: Slight v-neck Calvin Klein or American Apparel.

+ 2 polos – 1 neutral 1 bright
Choose your favorite brand. [$125]
Example: Ralph Lauren and/or Penguin, one black one red.

+ 1 button-up
Any style, color, or brand. It should be one that you really like and it should coordinate with the colors of your other core items. [$55]
Example: 1 Sean John long-sleeve plaid button-up.

(*The shoes you pick for you core are totally up to you, they should reflect your style and they are potentially shoes that you could wear everyday with everything.)

+ 1 pair of casual shoes
Example: navy Vans, black Chucks, white Pumas, brown Sperry boat shoes, neutral colored moccasins, driver, casual oxford-type shoe. [$75]

+ 1 pair of dressier/less-casual shoes
Example: oxfords, wing-tips, mid or ankle boots, dressy pair of drivers, tassel- loafer, slip-on. [$135]

That is your core and it is timeless… meaning all of the above will never go out of style and can easily coordinate with any trend.

With these items you can create a variety of looks:
very casual: slight v-neck tee, dark denim jeans, and moccasins.
everyday living: polo, cardigan, dark denim jeans, chucks.
weekend relaxing: v-neck, cardigan, khakis, boat shoes.
dressier: button-up, cardigan, khakis, boots.

**[The prices above are just estimates that total to $790, but all of the items can be purchased for much less. For example, you can buy all of the above clothing at a store like Express using their monthly coupons and online or in-store deals for around $380: $150 of 2 pair of jeans, $40 for 2 polos, $50 for the cardigan, button up for $30, trousers for $80, and 3 t-shirts for $30. Then you can head over to a site like Nordstrom and look at their "Under $100" shoes and find Kenneth Cole dress shoes for $90, Converse for $30 which total $120. So you get all of the above for $500. ]

Part II: The DEFINING PIECES & SIGNATURES


+ 1 pair of colored skinny/baggy skinny jeans

Red, green, blue, or purple.
Example: LRG, Uniqlo, Levis.

+ 2-4 graphic tees
Choose your favorite type and brand. It should basically fit your overall look. If you have a dressier style then choose tees that would be the “dressed down” version of your look (if that doesn’t work then get a t-shirt from your favorite brand ex: Lacoste tee).
Example: Vintage (go to local vintage and thrift stores), funny, retro, etc.

+ 2 jackets (light coat)
A signature jacket and a neutral yet stylish jacket or light coat. Jackets can really set-off the look, it’s the frosting on a cake- the cake taste good without, but it taste even better with it.
Example: bright colored aviator jacket, vintage jacket, designer jacket like MCM, or sport coat.

+ 4-6 shirts/tops
In the style of you choice.
Examples: plaid button-ups, bright colored graphic tees, etc.- whatever gives you your look.

+ 3 pants/bottoms
In the style of your choice.
Examples: chocolate colored corduroys, light-washed jeans slashed at the knees, black jeans, black flat-front trousers, etc. (again, whatever gives you your look)

+ shoes
Choose a pair of shoes that are really hot to you, they can be sneakers or dress shoes or a hybrid of the two. These should be your “stuntin” shoes, the ones that really stand out and make your look.
Example: Limited edition Creative Reactions, Marc Jacob sneakers, Kanye West Louis Vuitton shoes, or a pair of Supras.

+ accessories
2 scarves, 2 hats (1 fitted, 1 fedora), 2 skinny ties, 1 pair of glasses.
Just like a jacket can be seen as the frosting on a cake, accessories are the sprinkles and toppings- they complete the cake. Choose accessories that enhance your look.
1 of these items should be signature, like signature pair of Oliver Peoples glasses or your signature damier LV bookbag, or a signature skull scarf.
Examples: scarves, glasses, buttons, suspenders/braces, ties, hats, pins, “manbag”. You should own all different types of accessories, but you will have more of one type of accessory depending on your look.

** This is also where you would include your dressy attire. Every man should own atleast one tailored suit in black or navy blue. A suit can cost you anywhere from $200-$2000 depending on where you purchase it.

Part III: The FINISHING TOUCHES

(these are just the extras, most will probably be trend items).

+ trendy coat/jacket
Military or Marching band inspired jacket.

+ sunglasses
Wayfarers or aviators.
Example: Ray-ban, Tom Ford.

+ scarves
Plaid, animal print, or designer logo.

+ jewelry
It’s all about gold jewelry these days, but choose a material and color that fits your wardrobe and style. Examples: one watch and one gold chain.

+unique accessories
Accessories that are different or uncommon to the vast majority.
Example: buttons, broaches, pins… like the lego Dee & Ricky brooches.

+official trend items
Remember the must-haves of 2009.
Velvet, bow ties, and plaid.

+ more basics
Add more basics/core items into wardrobe.
Examples: more solid colored cardigans, polos, and shoes.

So that is the Urban Gentleman Wardrobe list for now. This list is subject to change at anytime, but it’s a good start for any gentleman looking to create or re-vamp his wardrobe.

*Other items not accounted for, but are important:
-underwear, black and brown leather belts, socks.

The Urban Gentleman
______________________________________

More Wardrobe Tid-bits.

+ Best stores for the items above and for men in need of building a wardrobe:

1. Macys/Bloomingdales (if you’re in America)
2. Harvey Nichols/Harrods/ Debenhams (if you’re in the UK)
3. GAP/Heritage 1981/Urban Outfitters

Those are great stores to use if you want to purchase everything in one place. But if you want to save money and want more options then shop from a variety of stores online and in store.

+ Best celebrities to use as inspiration when building a wardrobe:
1. David Beckham
2. Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, or Pharrell Williams
3. (your best dressed star)
4. Friends of yours whose style you admire.

+Best designers to use for inspiration when building a wardrobe:
1. Ralph Lauren
2. DSqaured
3. Dolce & Gabanna
4. Basically whichever designer you feels captures the essence of your style the best.

I recently realized that it’s all about quality above quantity. This ideal was further instilled in me after watching a Ralph Lauren video a friend shared with me. I remember having a phase in middle and high school in which I would not repeat clothes for 3 or so months at a time. I would write down everything I wore everyday and I would probably only wear an outfit twice each school year- crazy right? If I couldn’t find something to wear I would literally go to the mall and buy a new outfit… when I look back on it I think “how wasteful!!”. That type of mindset left me with tons of clothes and shoes that were nice, but not great… and it left me with tons of trendy items. I pretty much grew out of that mindset a few years ago, but only now do I truly understand the ridiculousness of my mindset at the time. It is, for example, much more important to have one really great quality pair of boots that will last a lifetime (though expensive) oppose to 2 pair of boots that will probably only be good for 2 seasons.

Now more than ever (with this worldwide recession) you really need to tap into your personal style and utilize vintage and thrift stores. If you shop there you can find the same trendy garments, but they’re authentically from the 70s or 80s or 90s and they cost less than half the price. You should mix up your vintage finds with the new clothes you purchase.

You should invest in your one main signature item, if you can afford to.
1. signature watch
2. signature frames
3. signature jacket
4. signature bag

_________________________

More Advice.

Be confident in your wardrobe, put thought into it, but don’t over analyze it to confusion. Remember one important Urban Gentleman rule: keep it simple or go hard. (either or only- to keep it stylish). When in doubt on how to coordinate always resort back to the Congolese Sape rules of 3, never match more than 3 colors.

Here’s a few looks random looks, that can help you mix and match your wardrobe items.

1.vintage tee, colored skinny jeans, thick frames, converse, aviator jacket

2. button up, sweater, tie, dark denim, oxfords

3. v neck, cardigan, khaki or cords, vans or lace-ups

4. button up, jacket, skinny tie, tie clip, dark denim, solid trainers or oxfords

Oh and don’t forget, a gentleman is always well-groomed.
1. haircut every 2 weeks, shape-up in between cuts
2. nails should be cut, long nails are for women only.
(this is technically more important than the clothes you wear).

The Urban Gentleman

________________________

Now, a few pictures for inspiration:








(search the site for more photos, we have tons)

The Kanye Record


“The deluxe collector’s edition of the modest one’s latest album, 808s & Heartbreak. Available at Urban Outfitters, it includes two full-length LPs, a CD of the album, photos, and lyric sheets.”
via style.com

$24.98


J.Crew: The Knit Tie

I’ve always been a fan of J.Crew and with their Obama presidential endorsements it seems like everyone is a fan these days. One of my favorite items in J.Crew are their ties- a guy can always find a nice tie there.

I really like their knit ties, you can’t wear them with everything, but if worn properly they can go with a variety of looks:

1. Basic button-up and chinos.
2. Collar shirt, vest, and khakis or jeans.
3. Fitted/Athletic suit or blazer and trouser combo.
4. etc… you get the picture, they can pretty much go with anything that has a preppier/ralph lauren/benjamin bixby/j.crew look. But they don’t go well with formal looks and materials (like silk).



$49.50, J.Crew.
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