Posts Tagged ‘style guide’

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

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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

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Now, a few pictures for inspiration:








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

Let’s Start the Year Off Right: Trend Anaylsis 08-09

Hey Gentlemen,

Okay, so I think I’m focused, refreshed, and ready to make The Urban Gentleman undoubtedly the coolest blog around, lol. First things first, let’s start the year by going over a few trends- past, future, and present.

Okay so 2008 was all about:
1. scarves
2. skinny jeans
3. skinny ties

I would say that those were the main 3 wardrobe items that most men caught on to- stylish or not. Skinny jeans were a love/hate thing, scarves were worn by all- even those you didn’t know how to wear them, and skinny ties finally made a big hit on the red carpet.

I think it’s safe to continue to purchase those items for the most part, but I would minimize the purchase of “arab scarves” if you live in a stylishly advanced city. And as far as skinny jeans go well I know some of you would love for me to predict that they’re out, but that just simply isn’t true. There are way too many celebrities that sort of just caught on to the whole skinny jeans thing and they’re just now feeling comfortable with even wearing them, so you should see more of those in 2009. I personally don’t think all guys should rock skinny jeans, you should wear what makes you comfortable and what fits well (without a belt)… but skinny jeans do look great on some guys.

There were a few “trends” in 2008 that I feel are no longer trends: The “nerd” and “50’s worker” look have really transcended “trend status”– there are pieces in both looks that are actually very very classic and should be in the wardrobe of any well-dressed gentleman… so you should continue with this “look” if you already rock it.

– thick glasses
– oxfords
– boat shoes
– cardigans

those are a few of the items that aren’t “trends”, they are classic staples. Meaning you can always wear them from now til your 75, no matter how much the trends change.

Okay and as for 2009, this is what you should focus on…

2009 Trends:

Velvet
From velvet ties to velvet blazers to velvet slippers. This is a trend that made a few appearances in 2008, but will surely make even more in 2009. Now NOT everyone should rock this look, its for guys that are really confident with their style and are just a little bit arrogant- just a little. Don’t ask me why, but it just looks better on them…. its hard to explain, so I won’t even try. But I think all guys should wear a velvet bow-tie to atleast one event this year.

Varsity
Varsity jackets go in and out all the time, but they’re technically always sort of “in” to extents because all high school athletes have one- atleast you should… I’m gonna dig out my old varsity jacket at some point this month. But guys like Chris Brown and Kanye West rocked these hard at the end of 2008 and I’ve seen a few others already rocking them in 09, so if you have one I think it would be cool to wear it until it gets warm. And once it gets warm start searching for Varsity cardigans, alot of designers will have them for Spring: Ralph Lauren, Benjamin Bixby, and Lacoste just to name a few.

Monochromatic

This trend is only for the bold and undeniably stylish. It’s all about wearing one color no matter the shade. This isn’t the 80s so you can have different color shoes and accessories if you wish, but your actual clothing should be one color. This is a trend that a friend and I “started” last fall and we receieved so many compliments on it. I saw a few magazine ads in December with guys and gals dressed in one tone, then Kanye (below)… so I feel like its really cool and should be tried at some point within the next few months. I don’t think its a everyday look, but it’s great for the days that you want to just switch it up.



Stay tuned for more “Trend Reports”….

The Big & Tall Guide to Style: Urban Gentleman Edition

After all the "please help" emails from urban gents around the country, I decided it had to be done– A Mini Style Guide for Tall and Husky Men. Husky sounds lame huh, okay umm… thick, big-boned, idk… big? Yeah, that's what they usually call it right, okay, so–

A Mini Style Guide for the Big & Tall and ohsoflyy.
First I'll start with tips for both then specifically give tall tips and big tips.

Note: It was hard to find good picture examples on the internet, so it took awhile to create pictures etc etc, and some of the pictures aren't exactly of "big" men, but they give you the idea. I'll try to visit a store with one of my big and or tall friends to show more precise pictures.

Like I've told many who have emailed me about the issue of finding clothes that fit their physique- the first thing you should do is find someone famous, who is about your size, and has a pretty good sense of style. For the tall you may want to use LeBron James, Will Smith, or Tom Brady as examples. For big guys you may want to use men like Cedric the Entertainer, Michael Knight (from Project Runway), or Joey Fatone (how he dresses more recently).

And it's also very very very important that you guys try clothes on– I know it's probably a pain in the ass, but it's a necessary evil if you want to look your best. I also suggest that you plan your shopping trips– go on a day like Tuesday or Wednesday… maybe even a Monday- on days that are slow so that the salespeople will pay more attention to you. Those are the days that they're in a more relaxed mood as well, so they're more friendly and chill oppose to being up-tight and slightly stressed. Which equals them being more willing to kind of act as your personal shopper, stores like Nordstrom are perfect for this treatment.

Tall Guys:

Big Guys:

Michael Knight is not really heavy heavy, he has added quite a few pounds since the show making him thick, a little pudgy maybe. But you would NOT know because he does a perfect job of camouflaging the extra pounds.


Cedric's pants here are a little baggy, but they're fine if you have alot to hide. I just think you should get them altered so that you don't have all that bunching on the bottom. You may have to buy a bigger size to fit your waist, but then the pants end up too long, usually guys just wear them baggy on the bottom, but you really should get them tailored. Many retail stores offer tailoring when you purchase clothes from them- high end stores like Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks, and maybe even Bloomingdales.

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GUIDE for Big Guys

 

So you're a bigger guy- portly is probably the politically correct term. First thing first–be confident. You may feel a little self conscious about the extra pounds, but at this moment you have to deal with it so get comfortable with yourself and who you are. If you want to change then that's fine, but you have to dress your body for the moment. Now your problem areas are probably your stomach and maybe your… behind (booty, yanno lol). So you have to focus on masking those parts of the body and choosee clothing that will give you a slimming effect and more proportionate look.


pleated pants and pullover sweaters with ribbing
at the bottom are great for heavy-set men

 

Styles to focus on: cardigans, button-ups, dark denim jeans, vest, jackets, suits with side vents, layers, dark colors, pleated pants (no flat fronts unless well tailored), the combination of a light button up or polo and dark sweater or cardigan- gives the allusion of slimmer, and the mixture of textures to give your body a better proportion.

For Suits: always always always get suits with side vents and pants with pleats. Vented jackets gives you room and makes your rear look smaller- this is especially important for men with wide hips. It's not a pleasant sight to see men with suit jackets on and its hugging their backfat. Pleated pants give your thighs more room and makes your body more proportionate. Flat front pants are okay if you are moderately thick and your stomach is relatively small (it may have a slightly slimming effect). You have to invest in suits with vents and you have to get them tailored- its sooooo worth it. Your figure its not regular size so you can NOT just wear clothing, mainly formal wear like suits, straight off the rack.


side vents hide big/wide hips perfectly

pleated pants give you more room, especially for your thighs. If you don't want to do the double pleats, do a single pleat, but please stay away from flat fronts if you have big thighs or a really big stomach.

For Big Hips: if you hold most of your weight on the bottom half of your body, there are a couple of things you can do to help balance your shape. Wear these combinations: dark solid bottoms with patterned, dark bottoms with textured tops. The textured and patterned tops will even out your proportion and re-focus the eye to your top area, taking away the attention from your hips. Wear suits with vents (look at the suit area for more information).

For Big Stomachs: You basically do the opposite of the men with big hips… you wear combinations of dark solid tops and textured bottoms (like corduroy) or light bottoms (like khakis).

 

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GUIDE for Tall Guys


So you're tall huh? Well congratulations– many men would often prefer to be atleast a little taller- 1 or 2 inches maybe. Believe it or not you don't really have that big of an issue– you're tall, so just like tall women (models for example) you can wear anything (it just gets noticed quicker). Your problem is usually with the fit of an item and you'll have to get alot of your clothes altered. The problem area for tall guys are usually- pants or shirts being to short and if they do fit they're often too large or oversized.

vertical stripes and bootcut or relaxed fit jeans are great for tall men.

Styles to Focus on: vests, cardigans, flat front pants (mainly for tall slim guys), layers, patterned button ups, pin-stripes (thin vertical stripes) shirts– this elongates your torso giving you a more balanced look, bright colored tops and dark bottoms will also elongate the torso.

Like I said you don't really have a real issue, it's just more of a tailoring thing. But there are some things you may need to note– some tall guys have really long legs and short torsos, others have torsos that are too long and aren't as proportional to their legs. You just have to make sure your proportions are right- shirts and jackets shouldn't be too short or too long.

 
As a tall guy you have to be aware of how long and short your layered looks are. You shouldn't have a sweater that ends at your waist with an extra long button-up. If tucked out your shirt should end at the red line or it should be tucked in- which is the neatest.
 
Focus on the Basics, here's The Urban Gentleman List of Basics. These are the items every man, especially the big and tall, should definitely have in your wardrobe- they should be quality (the highest quality you can afford) and you should definitely get them professionally tailored.

1. dark denim jeans
2. dark suit- (navy or black)

3. dark cardigan (navy, chocolate brown, burgundy)
4. white dress shirt
5. khakis (pleated for big guys, flat front for tall guys)
6. dark solid quality vest (like Ralph Lauren)- preferably 2 button up and pullover 7. sport coat/blazer (neutral color)

Those items are the core of your wardrobe and I want to stress the fact that all of these items, except of the vest and cardigan should be tailored— yes the dress shirt and jeans and khakis should be tailored. Be careful when tailoring though, make sure the item is exactly how you want it before you give them the final "yes".

Good Looks for Big and Tall Men

These outfits are all Ralph Lauren and are styled to be sort of tight and small for the average man- so don't follow the fit in the picture, just follow the type of garments they are wearing. Cardigans are a must these days.

Specific TRENDS for Big Men: Preppy/Classically Simple Look, Jacket Fanatic
Specific TRENDS for Tall Men: Plaid, Preppy/Classically Simple, Jacket Fanatic, pretty much anything- just get it tailored.
Specific STORES for Big & Tall Men: Most stores have a big and tall section, and you should always begin in the big and tall sections if possible. Gap, Ralph Lauren, Old Navy, Casual XL (carries Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, and Levis), I found an online store for really big men: www.torrebigandtall.com. But you guys can virtually shop anywhere you just have to get it tailored.

Okay, I think the guide if complete for now. If you have more questions leave comments or send us an email info@theurbangent.com.

Cindy at THE URBAN GENTLEMAN

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