Archive for August, 2009

2009 UPDATE: Marching Band & Military Jackets for Men

The Urban Gentleman first covered marching band jackets over a year ago- when Lupe Fiasco, troubled youngster C.Breezy, and a few rock stars were the main ones rocking them. But after the Fall 2009 Runway shows the popularity of these jackets rose dramatically. And with that many people began visiting the urban gent to read more about marching band jackets. When I wrote the first article, most designers did not carry jackets that emulated that of a drum major or military sergeant, so my list of where to buy them was small. Now, since marching band jackets are more mainstream, they can be found almost anywhere, but the task isn’t as easy for men as it is for women. So I’ve compiled an updated list of where to get them online.

First lets start with designers… D&G. They’re the only designer label that had an overwhelming amount of marching band and military jackets in the Fall 2009 shows- from what I can remember anyway… I think Rag & Bone had one, and well my memory goes blank after that (feel free to let me know what other designers had military and band jackets in their show).


D&G Military Jacket, $1475.00




D&G Military Peacoat, $1395.00

Those are really nice, especially the first one, but I know everyone doesn’t have $1300-$1500 to spend on a jacket. After searching, I found about 4-5 similar jackets on eBay. And though you may be reading this one month after it was written I’m sure that similar jackets are still on eBay.

Here’s 1 current auction:

US Military Parade Jacket (small), currently $36 (3 days left to bid)
*(sold as of 9.03.2009)

I also found some great simple military style jackets that would make for great staples in any man’s fall wardrobes (plus they’re perfectly priced):

MILITARY HERRINGBONE JACKET, $38

*(geez louise guys you all made this jacket sell-out in less than 3 days)


gray MILITARY HERRINGBONE JACKET, $31
Also, check here for more military, varsity,
and marching band inspired jackets.

The overall online selection for men’s marching band jackets still isn’t that wide, but the in-store selections are okay or solid. So visit the trendy stores in your area to further search for military/varsity/marching band type jackets. I would also suggest calling stores in advance to save yourself time, just google the store and location and call to ask if they have any marching band type jackets. If you live in a suburban type area then your retail center is probably a mall, so find the website for the mall and pull up the store directory then go down the list- calling stores you think would have the jacket.

Hope that helps! Feel free to leave suggestions on where to specifically find more marching band jackets.

Sagging Pants? So Unsexy. The Woes of Two Extremes- Saggy Baggy vs Saggy Skinny.

On Friday, when I was on the way to my local park for my daily jog, I was met with a few very disturbing sites… So I'm driving along and was stopped at the intersection because of a red light, so I'm sitting there, waiting, then looked around and noticed two, seemingly high school aged, young guys sort of joking around with each other. This was normal- I know guys can be goofy, especially in high school. What was abnormal though were the clothes they wore… tightly fitted jeans that hugged their lower thighs, knees, and calves; their undergarments were fully exposed as their belts were strategically tightened below their buttocks.
I sat there.
in my car.
highly perturbed.
at what I was seeing.

Two FULL grown boys wearing jeans that were not only ill-fitting, but quite frankly made them look foolish. They paired these atrocious jeans with white v-necks, studded belts, and sneakers- now those things were okay and actually coordinated with their brightly colored extra saggy skinny jeans… but I… I was just upset. I just couldn't understand how these, probably intelligent young men of color, could not just look in the mirror and see that their ensembles were absurd.

The light turned green, so I moved on, I couldn't wait to jog now- to ease my temporary frustration.
 

So I'm driving along and then I am met again with yet another crazy siting. This time I had the displeasure of seeing two young guys wearing extra baggy jeans that could literally fit two average size humans in them. But that's not the worst of it, the worst of it is that they were actually holding their books in one hand and in the other- their jeans.… (sigh).

I thought to myself "this is amazing, this foolishness still floods the streets and it's 2009"… you guys just don't understand how truly perturbed I was. The neighborhood I was in was a nice one- one of the wealthiest in America even. I KNOW that these kids can afford a belt, but yet and still their pants were hanging off them as if, well I hate to be cliche', buuut as if they were members of a chain gang.

soccer (football) stars David Beckham and Thierry Henry
 

At this point I was in d e s p e r a t e need of a jog. I spent the last few minutes of my short drive thinking about men with style and trying to figure out who these young guys were trying to appeal to. It's an obvious and a mute point that the men with the most style wear pants that actually fit them: David Beckham, Kanye West, Tom Ford, Ralph Lauren, Thierry Henry, and the list goes on. I thought about the best-dressed men in my life… none of them have ever worn baggy/saggy jeans (including my brothers). So it is clear that stylish men do not wear clothing that expose their briefs, that means these young high-schoolers are obviously not trying to be stylish… so maybe they're trying to impress someone?

I do know that most of what young men do between the ages of 12 and 18 is in an attempt to impress girls. So this led me to quickly bbm (black berry messenger) a nice sampling of females- ranging in age 15-27, european-american, african-american, hispanic, and asian about 9 girls total. I simply asked them "what's your take on guys sagging- do you like, dislike, and why?" The results were unanimous and two of my friends actually answered with the same phrase "sagging pants? so unsexy." All of these girls are gorgeous with alot style, their backgrounds vary: 2 professionals, 1 married, 3 of them my mentees (in high school), 3 college girls… and every last one of them prefers a male who wears his pants on his waist with a belt rather than hanging below his derriere.

Alright, so now there's two things that are clear, guys who wear sagging/baggy jeans are:
1. Not stylish
2. Not Attractive to (attractive) women.

Sooooo? ? ? What the heck is going on?

Music legend Tupac Shakur
 

Firstly, from about 1989-2005 there was an overwhelming issue of guys wearing quadruple X clothing and sagging like belts were taboo. We all know that this trend was inspired by "gangster rap" and music icons like Tupac. And their original inspiration was from experience in state penitentiaries. And you know what, I'm not even going to knock that because trends stem from many places and they come and go- that's life. But then thanks to guys like Pharrell and Kanye most guys started wearing jeans that properly fit them. This started around 2003, but has heavily caught on over the past 3 years. But now, noooow, somehow guys are wearing jeans that are tooooooooooooo small and they're STILL sagging. Okay, now let me be very clear- I don't dislike skinny jeans, I even love them on certain guys- usually slim built artistic types and rock stars. I just have a MAJOR issue, a m a j o r issue, with guys going from a dramatic 5XL to a dramatic XS… the extremes are so very unnecessary.

Skinny jeans have been a topic on this blog several times… first, last summer discussing 'can men wear them', then a look back on skinny jeans, Lil Wayne in skinny jeans, Jay-Z's take on skinny jeans, etc.

What you young guys must realize is that females may like stars like Lil Wayne and think he's the sexiest thing in the world, but that's just it- it's because he's a star. Every star, male or female, has their groupies. Mr.Belding from Saved by the Bell has his groupies… girls don't like these guys because of their clothes per se, they like them because they're famous… famous people, especially male celebrities, can unfortunately get away with wearing foolishness like this. Plus this look goes along with Wayne's demeanor and image- lackadaisical, marijuana lover, "don't care" type personality, etc. Unless you plan to be exactly like him (i pray you don't) then you can't dress like this without someone getting the wrong impression. I'm not saying everyone has to wear button-ups and oxfords, I'm not saying that in the least bit. I'm just saying pull your damn pants up, please :-)

I still stand by who I think can and can't wear them, but I don't think I was clear on what kind to wear or how to wear them. There are several types of skinny jeans and the type that I think is appropriate for most guys (even heavyset/husky men) are the kind that are skinny but a little baggy- meaning they don't tightly hug your thighs, they technically are not even skinny jeans, but they're skinny in comparison to the over-sized pants a good number of guys were wearing before.

I know that in the past I said Lil Wayne has style in his own way, but that's where that ends- he has style in his own way. His individualized "I get high every single day, I let little girls dance on stage with grown men" rapper type way— this is NOT an example of how you should dress or even of how you should want to be (no offense to Mr. Carter). Realize that there are some people who you must only admire as artist and for their works not necessarily for who they are or how they dress- you can't emulate all of your favorite people even if you think their lyrics or words changed your life.


Okay, I don't want to drag this out any longer than I have to, but I just had, just HAD to write about this. Urban Gentlemen wear jeans that fit them, they do not wear jeans that expose their undergarments as they walk or that are 3xs their proper size. Guys, especially my young readers, understand that people do judge you by your appearance, this may not be fair, but it's life.

The moment you walk into the room people are trying to figure you out: how you look, how you dress, how firm your handshake is- these are queues people use to evaluate you. Leave a bad impression and it may last forever. You never have a second opportunity to leave a first impression. And these days with this tough economy, and with opportunities not being as vast, you really want to paint yourself in the best light- that includes wearing clothes that properly fit you.

I really really want you guys' feedback on this topic-
why do you or your friends wear sagging pants?

These days alot of skater kids wear sagging pants too… like I mentioned in the skater king article, skater style has grown to be the stereotypical hip-hop style (a style that can only really be seen on tv and in movies since most rappers dress preppy these days).

I would fully appreciate everyone's candidness about this, be honest and open and I promise not to judge. If you want, be anonymous, but just honestly and straightforwardly think about why you wear jeans that expose your underwear or why your friends or associates do, then post a comment.

*I know some of you are thinking, "what the heck, you know I don't sag my jeans!!" so I'm sorry if I've insulted any of my readers with this, I know the majority of you do not wear derriere exposing jeans, but I'm thinking some of the youngsters do and that's mainly who this article is for. I know no educated man over 25 would be wearing sagging jeans even if Weezy is his favorite rapper.

 

Mini Urban Gentlemen: Daniel Julez Smith-Knowles and Kingston James McGregor Rossdale-Stefani

Good Afternoon Gentlemen,

Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Racheal and I’m going to be doing a weekly “blurb” on the mini urban gentleman, basically all the young guys 12 and under (and the Young Urban Gentleman: teens 13-15). I’m a mom, but a fashionable one who tends to dress her kiddo to the hilt no matter the occasion. I’m a graduate of THE Ohio State University with a degree in textiles and clothing. I worked for a major fashion retailer before moving to Atlanta to take a position in an executive management program for another major high-end retailer (which is where I met the creator of this blog (kisses to my girl).) I have a knack for style and an itch to be a stylist, but I currently teach to give back to my community. Alright, that’s enough about me!

To jumpstart our new section on Mini Urban Gentlemen I’d like to showcase a couple of the moms and kids with style that I admire, check them out:
Solange & Juelz. I love these two because they seem to be very stylish in their own individualized way. They always exude confidence and happiness when caught out and about.

he’s a rockstar.

With mom in France, sporting multi-colored Dunks

If you notice Solange keeps little Julez sort of dressed within the same
color scheme as her most of the time.

Out and about with auntie Beyonce’ and grandma Tina

This probably one of coolest pics of Solange’s Julez.
It’s like he’s saying “I’m cool and I know it and you know it too”
but he’s just not saying it… and I really like the colorful Oakley shades on the little guy.

4 year old Daniel Julez Smith, Jr. out with mom singer Solange,
aunt singer Beyonce, and grandma designer Tina as they visit the
Andy Warhol exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris.
Solange has dressed young Daniel in a more high-fashion type ensemble…
very appropriate for Paris.

He sports a graphic print scarf and tee (which really just looks like a cow-neck t-shirt), MJ-ish black jacket, and his black wayfarers- a staple in most of his day to day looks.

Gwen and Kingston. From birth this kid has been a maven of fashion and he hasn’t stopped since. I guess it helps that his mom is also pretty darn fashionable and owns a line of AMAZING clothes for the whole family… he and his brother are just two lucky kids.


yet again, another rockstar kid.

I love seeing little kids in studded belts, it’s like a mini-style statement

Young Kingston giving a very pregnant Gwen Stefani a back rub in London Park. All I can say is “niiiiiice.” This little guy gets alot of points for this act, every woman wants a son this thoughtful. I really like his jeans, the big cuffs complete the casual look.


Kingston well-layered for winter.

Kingston laying out at Long Beach in California with mum Gwen Stefani
and 8 month old little bro Zuma. You can’t really see it in this picture, but they all have on a type of seer-sucker denim… it’s nice when parents and kids very subtly match.

We’re sure Zuma will grow up to be cool like big bro Kingston

And of course I had to throw in atleast one of Kingston and dad rock star Gavin Rossdale since, after all, this is a man’s blog.

3 year old Kingston James McGregor debuting a blonde side-swept mohawk… I’m not too sure about dying your kids hair, but you must admit that he looks pretty rad

.

As Gwen and Solange show it’s easy to keep your little guy stylish. Cool graphic tee, quality denim, his favorite sneakers, and a complimenting accessory- be it a studded belt or colorful shades.

These are just two of my favorite young gents. PLEASE leave any comments and suggestions for posts! Whether you have your own little gentleman (like me) or need to buy your nephews, cousins, or friend’s kids a gift- I’ll be more than happy to answer any questions and give my opinion and suggestions.

Happy Friday Guys, Ciao!

Mayer Hawthorne: He Makes the Girls Go Wild

I won’t call it blue-eyed soul, that’s cliche’… plus his eyes aren’t even blue. What I will call it however, is panty-throwing soul music, lol. Too crude? I hope not, but that’s exactly what Mayer Hawthorne will possibly have the ladies doing in due time. Drawing his inspiration from Smokey Robinson, Curtis Mayfield, and the legendary songwriting and production trio of Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland, and Eddie Holland Jr. this retro soul singer just has it. Yes, it- that special something that few new artist have embodied these past few years.

Press Play:

(listen to about 30 seconds then continue reading the rest, with the song playing).

Would it be too much to say I have impeccable taste in music, hmmm I think not… I just sorta have that indiscriminate ear for the best, eh, what can I say (as I dust my shoulders off), lol. No but seriously, very few artist make me fall in love with their music after only listening to a singular track, but Mr. Hawthorne somehow became one of the hand full of artist who left me that mesmerized. I was introduced to the new era soul singer not too long ago by Urban Gentleman Fan Robert (aka Russ), and, well, Mayer Hawthorne has been on repeat in my itunes player ever since. Did I mention how much I love urban gent fans? well I do, you guys are best.

When listening to his music, it feels like he’s an old pro. But actually the Detroit, Michigan native never ever planned on making an album full of soulful- doo wop- finger snapping hits, he was actually a DJ and if anything would have emerged on the scene as a hip-hop artist. Then one day his “on the side, playful, sort of a joke” Mayer (his middle name) Hawthorne (the name of the street he grew up on) material got into the hands of DJ and Stones Throw Records head Peanut Butter Wolf. To say the least, Mr. Wolf went wild, especially when he learned Mayer played most of the instruments on his tracks, wrote the songs, and of course sung it all like he was beamed in straight from Detroit circa 1969.

Has this unsuspecting soul singer began a movement that will put Hitsville, USA back on the map? Well… I darn sure hope so, anybody who’s somebody knows Motown is #1, so a return to those classic sounds would only bring happiness to these hard (recession) times.

His debut album, A Strange Arrangement drops September 9th, that’s right 09.09.09. Pick it up at record stores near you or online at Stones Throw Records.

the answer is yes. yes that is a heart shaped vinyl. Mr. Mayer is a vinyl collector so he wanted to make sure his first album was sort of a collector’s edition for DJs and vinyl connoisseurs.

Check out more Mayer Hawthorne:
Official Label Page: http://www.stonesthrow.com/mayerhawthorne
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/mayerhawthorne

Mayer Hawthorne: Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out (Official Video)

Mayer Hawthorne: Maybe So, Maybe No Video (*Official Video)

One of the best songs, if not the best song, on his album is sort of like an ode to his native city. “Maybe So, Maybe No” is a cover of Motown’s legendary Detroit group The Holidays. The original song is one of Mayer Hawthorne’s favorite songs (ever).

He also has a song on the album entitled, “I Wish it Would Rain”.
Which I’m sure is inspired by David Ruffin and the Temptations.

Mayer Hawthorne’s “I Wish it Would Rain”

Soooo, what do you guys think?

I’d love to see Bobby Ray (B.O.B), Mayer Hawthorne, and Janelle Monae on a track together that’s partially written and produced by Andre 3000... that’d be crazy hot. And then if they made a video together? Omg… craaaazy. There could even be a remix of the track with Adele or Kate Perry…. sick-o-ning. I’d love it.

History Tees: Emperial Nation

The French Revolution, Ottoman Empire, Gangs of New York, Wild West, Harlem Renaissance and Civil War. If you have an interest in any or all of those subjects then you’ll probably love Emperial Nation. They’re a lifestyle streetwear brand that focuses on preserving history in their threads.

And the subject’s above aren’t just cool and interesting, they actually have tees inspired by each of those historical events.


Gangs of New York graphic tee
Paul Kelly Mugshot tee, $38

Harlem Renaissance graphic tee
Alpha Team Tee, $39

William Harris, David Beckham, Curtis “50 cents” Jackson, DeAndre “Souljah Boy” Way, and Jayson “Jadakiss” Phillips are a few of the celebrities that have caught on to the history-driven EN movement. Check out their collection: emperialnation.com

B.o.B – Put Me On (Reebok Classic Remix ’09)

When I wake up from a full night of sleep
I put my best foot forward indeed
And as the colors begin to sing
They seem to say to me “Come On”
You gotta put me on (4x)

Ever since I first arrived here
I’ve been on the run like an eye tear
And it took me a while to get my life steered
But now I’m in the moment, while I reside here
Yup, that’s why I coordinate with my gear
So you can feel the feng shui as soon as I’m near
Yeah, and people have the nerve to say that I’m weird
But you just in a box, so get your mind cleared
Yeah, yeah, that good music man we got it here
So we can get the vibe high like a light gear
Or maybe, fly high like five deer
Call me Santa Claus, when I come through I gotta put ‘em on

When I wake up from a full night of sleep
I put my best foot forward indeed
And as the colors begin to sing
They seem to say to me “Come On”
You gotta put me on (4x)

Well ever since I was eleven
I have found heaven in my self expression
Huh, no, my childhood I never left it
Yes, I’m still a big kid though I never stress it
Yet, memory is evanescent
So I make moves with a special method
That allow my dreams to be manifested
So you’re past the promised land, no I can’t accept it
This life I live is a very blessed one
So, that’s why fans have many questions
Yet, I still leave many guessing
I’m an artist, so I gotta have a bad collection
I put ‘em on

When I wake up from a full night of sleep
I put my best foot forward indeed
And as the colors begin to sing
They seem to say to me “Come On”
You gotta put me on (4x)

Behind the Scenes of the Video:

Reebok did good with this one. Whoever it was that chose to remake A Tribe Called Quest’s Bonita Applebum with B.O.B as the artist should get a raise…. because the video actually makes me want to buy a pair :-) Two Thumbs up Reebok.
Don’t you just love how this song makes you feel so relaxed, great music for a Friday. As I listen to the song I keep thinking “Bonita Applebum you gotta put me on, bonita applebum I said you gotta put me on, Bonita Applebum you gotta put me on, bonita applebum I said you gotta put me on bonita bonita bonita bonita”. lol- gotta love late 80s/early 90s hip hop… and I think A Tribe Called Quest sampled this song from Stevie Wonder, not sure which song though.

For more Bobby Ray aka BoB go here.

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