Gentlemen’s Fashion Tips: Living and looking your best Style.

With fashion week just two weeks away, it only makes sense for the gentleman to be mindful of how his attire reflects his personal style. It is also interesting to note that New York’s 2019 fashion week, and men’s fashion week will be combined this year where it was traditionally held separately. Yes 2019 is a new year with different ideas…….so shouldn’t you’re dress and style be?

Here are some tips and ideas that can help you upgrade your look (without downgrading your wallet):

  • Whenever you wear a sports jacket or blazer, use a pocket square every time. They don’t have to be expensive, they just have to look good. Be creative with it.002
  • Visit vintage and thrift stores, and buy a couple of jackets (that fit you) for under $20.00. Vintage jackets not only give you a unique look, they will also make you stand out from the crowd.
  • Learn to use and tie a new necktie knot (yes there is more than one), two or three should do the trick, and bask in the glow as others whisper “oh how stylish”.
  • Start a tie collection. Try different patterns, colors and prints. (remember that wearing the same outfit with a different tie, looks as if you are wearing a whole different outfit).
  • Buy and collect as many different dress shirts as you can (much like the ties). Soon you will realize that some are classic, and other will become classic.
  • Organize your wardrobe, so that you can easily pick out items for a quick outfit if you are pressed for time, as well as to choose the right attire for the right event or engagement.005
  • Get a tailor. Get all of your nice pants, jackets and shirts adjusted by a tailor. You will be glad you did.
  • Spent time developing your “personal style”. And shift and adjust it to reflect your personality. Use a classic style as your focus until your personal style is refined and second nature.
  • Ignore Trends. After you are more adept with your individual style, you will understand the logic of this. Don’t be a follower, be a leader!
  • Choose Quality over Quantity. Buy the best quality that you can afford at any given time, one or two good pieces will do. And continue this over time.
  • Build your confidence the way you build your wardrobe, slowly but surely.
  • Develop you personal scent. Experiment with different fragrances to find your very own signature scent to partner with your personal style.
  • Have fun. The most important part of all this is to enjoy yourself (take the attitude of dressing for you). Remember the goal is look good and feel good, when you see the reflection of yourself in the mirror!

Now go out there and join the ranks of the Stylish!

CONQUETE: Conquering the Men’s Fashion Industry.


One of the most unique hidden gems in Chelsea is the men’s boutique clothing store “Conquete” owned and operated by the men’s clothing designer Richard Cohen.

kimg1315(Iconic Men’s Fashion Designer Richard Cohen)

Richard Cohen started designing women’s wear contour “made to measure” for about three years, than he gave it all up and went into the restaurant industry for 15 years, but his love and passion for designing clothes compelled him to return “with a whole new line of men’s wear custom made for club goers, special parties, carnival, and vacations.

(Model: Samir Arboleda)

When I asked Richard why he chose to do men’s wear he said: “because I wanted to wear my own clothes, I don’t wear the women’s clothes that I made, so I do men’s wear. First I was working on consignment for about five or six boutiques and things were not moving fast enough for me, so I realized I had enough inventory to open my own store; I tried to work with other people, but they turned me down so I opened my own store for my men’s clothing line, it was easier to show all my designs in one space.”

Richard first opened a small store on 8th Ave and 22th street back in 1998, he than closed that store in 2000 and opened at his current location in 2001. “I had a show in between the two stores doing designs for private clientele, special orders, shirts, pants, and bathing suits.”

Richard likes items that are “odd and different” and used to sell exclusively only his designs, now he sells his and a mixture of other choice designers that  he deems unique and not produced by others. He specializes in men’s pants, shirts, and swimwear.

Richard’s designs are inspired by the things that he would wear himself and the”touch and feel of the fabric. I don’t follow trends, I don’t even look at magazines” he added.

(Sale Associate/Model: Samir Arboleda)

What really unique about Conquete is that you will always find “special items” that you can’t find anywhere else especially in department stores. “I offer a lot more choices for my customers”. After my interview with Richard he had a young designer by the name of Daniel Merat come in to see him for help with his FIT portfolio. He had to design a jacket and needed some help, so Richard invited me (to my delight) to his work shop downstairs in the basement to watch and learn a little about men’s fashion designing.

(Richard helping young designer Daniel Merat with his design for FIT)

As I watched this master craftsmen work in his studio I was awestruck at the ease and perfect way he designs as well as the fine fabric that he is ever so selective about, only the finest fabrics and stitching will do for Richard.

Richard is most proud of his loyal and long term clients that he has made happy for so many years, “you get something in return when your clients come back and thank you for great custom garments.”

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Conquete  is located at 257 West 23rd Street New York, NY (646) 638-2646.(or log on to Conquete.net). If you’re into men’s fine fashion styles, stop by the store and get that favorite man in your life something great, or treat yourself to a fashionable holiday gift.

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The New Expansion and Growth of the Menswear Fashion Market: An in-depth style that’s modern and in the moment.

According to Euromonitor International, “The global market for men’s designer apparel is projected to reach nearly $33 billion in 2020, up 14 percent from $29 billion in 2015.” There has been a growing paradigm shift in men’s fashion wear as many men are now paying more attention to the way they look and also going for comfort in the way they are dressing.

 

Men’s fashion brands and major publishing houses are now focusing on this new men’s fashion paradigm, and trying to keep up to fill the need for more versatile and stylish menswear geared towards this new tread.

“Expand the broader menswear market by educating consumers and pushing the boundaries of men’s fashion.” (Will Welch GQ Style editor).

 

Professional men in the workplace are readily abandoning the classic dress codes and business casual protocol of a button down shirt or knit shirt and khakis, opting instead to wear a nice high end dress shirt with jeans and deck shoes or even sneakers; a look that’s spreading like wild-fire in New York City; and other major urban cities. After the downturn guys started to dress up again, but with an emphasis on style and comfort, wanting to look good without the rank and file uniform feel, such as wearing nice jeans with a blazer and a stylish shirt or T-shirt.

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Today’s men are being more creative in the way that they think about what they are wearing, paying more attention to style and a more modern and relaxed fit. The style for men in this present period is more creative in sense of smart stylish looks that are very versatile.

 

Don’t get me wrong, men’s suits are still integrally vital to menswear, it is just how men choose to wear them is changing, (think high end designer suit with a silk screened T-shirt with stylish casual shoes!) Stylish Creativity and relaxed comfort is the new name of the game in menswear, and men’s fashion brands are scrambling to keep up with the growing demand for more versatile stylish apparel in menswear.

 

One of the fastest growing areas in menswear now is, believe it or not men’s shoes.  As many men now are looking for well made fashion forward footwear that is more stylish, and moving away from the more boring traditional styles, as well as willing to spend more money in this area to find them.  Many men are spending more time and money on the way they look to project a more confident and stylish image. The global growth of the men’s clothing market according to a January 2016 Barclay’s report is expected to be up to $40 billion by 2019.

 

 

 

 

Spectre & Co: High End Men’s Fashion Wear at Affordable Prices.

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Back in the early summer of 2013, I came across the men’s apparel online website  Spectre & Co and really liked what was being offered by this hip but unknown brand, thinking, “This Company really gets me!” As far as the fabric and style of the shirts were concerned, was all that I could hope for in men’s stylish shirts, and best of all under $45.00-$65.00.  In the next three years, being busy with studying in the medical field, I am ashamed to say lost touch with this phenomenal company and dressing myself with the more, well known label brands.

KIMG1178But like fine wines, this company more than improved their stylish men’s wear while still keeping their commitment to high quality fabric and craftsmanship. I was walking through the “Turnstyle Shops” at Columbus Circle in Midtown Manhattan and walked by the newly opened Spectre & Co storefront and the memory of this stylish and quality brand came flooding back to me, so I had to walk in and inspect the goods.

KIMG1181Spectre & Co was created by young entrepreneur Jeffery Zhang who got the idea while trying to find a good quality shirt to attend a friend’s wedding, and was outraged that he had to spend $150.00 for a decent shirt. Jeff Zhang decided to take matters into his own hands and opened up an online retail store for men, catering to young professionals who appreciate superior quality fabrics and fashion style.

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(Jeff Zhang Owner of Spectre & Co)

In May 2013 Spectre & Company was born and in a very short time became a game-changer in men fashion. Jeff worked in consulting and finance in New York for five years after graduation from New York University, and used his own personal savings of $40,000 to start his new venture in men’s fashion retail all on his own, well sort of.

KIMG1174Jeff’s father Jue Wei Zhang (“Joe”) who owns and operates J.W.E, a uniform manufacturer based in New York boasting about 20 Million in yearly sales, helped out by allowing Jeff to use his warehouse located in Port Washington NY and production line in his factory just outside of Shanghai in China, and a former designer from six decade old Ascot Chang in Hong Kong that makes upscale shirts oversees the production. Jeff designs as well as choosing all the fabrics of his shirts, insuring the style and quality is of high standard.

Jeff is also at the helm of the company web-site and of course the Facebook page, in which he has a blog giving out fashion advice, which serves as a good strategy to maintain customer loyalty.

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    (Sales associate Ryan greeting customers with a smile)

(G. Joseph Torogiwa wearing blue and grey sports jackets by Spectre & Co)

Spectre & Company while trying to get the word out about his men’s clothing line does not spend much on advertising, but uses word of mouth from his customer base and having “pop up” stores in Chelsea and Soho, to expose his fantastic men’s fashion line.

The store opened in April of this year, and the Shirts, ties, shorts, trench-coats, accessories are now all in the store at the Columbus Circle “Turnstyle” marketplace for inspection, and of course to try on. You will be glad you did

 

 

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The Ubiquitous Boutonniere: Or the Mysterious Origins of the Flower Label Pin

The label pin flower is well known by many, but most young men had not been introduced to this men’s fashion accessory until attending a funeral, prom or wedding for over half a century, However the flower lapel pin or Boutonniere from the French (button hole) has been a part of the gentleman’s dress for a far longer period of time.

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The origins of Boutonniere is shrouded in mystery, but one legend has it that when Prince Albert and Queen Victoria married, photographs was still in its infancy, so their wedding photographs was taken one year later and Queen Victoria presented her husband with flowers as a token and symbol of her love for him. The ever gentlemanly Prince Albert cut a hole in the lapel of his dress coat and inserted the flower in the “button hole.” The distinctive look and style was quite impressive and of course all the gentlemen began to follow suit.

For many years the Boutonniere was common place with men even wearing it in the office at work, but sometime after World War II the practice began to wane as a common fashion statement for men but was keep alive by movie stars and celebrities, and this classic style became reserved for weddings and other special occasions.

Now there has been a resurgence of this classy and stylish look that has taken on a more profound look as well as being made from all types of fabrics and materials and, over time morphed into label pins with various insignias and designs to show club or political party affiliations to national pride or as an award of corporate prestige to just plain novelty.

What’s on your lapel???

 

 

The Metrosexual Male: Being metrosexual

 

There are many different ways that a Metrosexual man is perceived by others of the same and opposite sex. First let us examine the definition of the word Metrosexaual: “an urban, heterosexual male with liberal political views, an interest in fashion, and a refined sense of taste, exhibiting a strong aesthetic sense and inordinate interest in appearance and style.”

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Being a metrosexual does not mean that you are predisposed to being gay, but rather you are a heterosexual who is expressing self-love by means of his appearance and sense of style and is very much in touch with his feminine side and is not afraid to show it.

 

Metrosexual Men are not afraid to bend gender lines in regards to fashion, and can come across as a bit androgynous at times when styling himself an outfit, and are also known to use female beauty products simply because some of them are better or yield desired results.

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People are always attempting to define Metrosexual men, but the truth is, we cannot be defined by either sex because we define ourselves, which is why all efforts to place us in a specific category fails. I for one do not really like labels, but if you must, label me stylish!

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The Pocket Square: from Practical Tool to Men’s Fashion Accessory

The pocket square, or more correctly the “handkerchief” has come a long way from being used to protect from foul smells and fanning oneself, to the manly fashion article that it is now.

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Some have linked the handkerchief as far back as ancient Egypt and Greece as being used to display one’s wealth, while others have said that King Richard ll who ruled England from 1377 to 1399 was the first person to wear a handkerchief as a fashion item, but there is no evidence of that on record. However in Europe around the 1400’s the handkerchief had become very popular with the upper classes for more practical uses as a tool. Used once again as a status symbol at this time to denote wealth, made from silk with elaborate designs in various sizes and shapes, scented to combat the foul smells, from lack of bathing in that period.

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With the advent of the “two piece suit” in the 19th century, which became the norm with gentleman, they did not want their handkerchiefs getting soiled by other articles that they carried in their pockets, so they started to place it in the breast pockets of their suit jackets.

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In the early 20th century it became even more popular with men, along with different “folding techniques” and made in different fabrics and designs for the well dressed gentlemen in America and Europe. During that time it was used more as a “functional” item, and the practice began to wane for a time. In the 1960’s male movie stars revived the practice, and every man started to wear them again, and it regained its place in men’s wardrobes, but now mostly as a fashion accessory. Now days it can be seen worn by elegant classy gentleman as a stylish part of a well dressed men.

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The Origins and History of the Necktie.

There has been a point in every man’s life when he pondered, why do we wear ties? What is the reason for it? How did it become such an integral part of a man’s dress? Let’s now examine the origins of how the man’s tie became what it is today.

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Military Origins:
The earliest predecessor of the tie was discovered in Xian, China back in 1974. When the first emperor of China, Qin Shih died in 210 B.C. hundreds of terracotta solider sculptures, was found buried with him to protect him in the afterlife. Around each and every statues neck was found “neck cloth” which is not found anywhere else in Chinese culture at this time. In ancient Rome around 113 A.D. the Emperor Trajan’s column was erected to commemorate his conquest of Dacia which show thousands of soldiers wearing an assortment of neckties, just like the Chinese there is no other record of anybody wearing neck wear in Italy at that time, nor anywhere else. The theory is that they were worn as a special symbol of honor.

132811135_81nAround the middle ages we find this same type of isolated wearing of “neckties” involved with soldiers in the military. The Croatian soldiers during the 30 years war to show their support of France, wore before King Louis Xlll, colorful “knotted neckerchiefs” around their necks which caught on with the French soldiers and began to be used to protect the soldiers ruffled shirts and buttons, and by the time of Louis XlV came to be king, these “neckties” became very popular with men in France wearing them in different fabrics and colors. It is said that the French word “cravat” for “tie” was a variation of the word “Croat” because the style was taken from the Croatians.

Soldiers in traditional military uniforms attend a guard exchanging ceremony at St. Mark's Square in Zagreb

Soldiers in traditional military uniforms attend a guard exchanging ceremony at St. Mark’s Square in Zagreb October 16, 2010. Croatia celebrates Cravat Day by staging a ceremony of traditional military units wearing cravats on St. Mark’s Square, in front of parliament and government buildings. The day honours a local belief that Croatian soldiers were the first in Europe to wear cravats, a traditional kind of neck cloth, while performing their military duties. REUTERS/Nikola Solic (CROATIA – Tags: MILITARY SOCIETY FASHION)

Royal History:
The cravat was considered the proper prototype of the modern day tie that we wear today, however a few hundred years later is when it started to turn into the long strip of cloth that we know now. After King Charles reclaimed the throne in England in 1660 the fashionable cravat made its way into English society, as the exiled aristocrats who followed him brought this new fashion craze from England to the English colonies, and became the fashion statement of the well dressed gentleman. Around the 18th century men wearing a cravat around the neck became the standard for all social classes.

 

Napoleon Bonaparte, who was in the habit of wearing all black, sported a white cravat at the battle of waterloo in honor of the duke of Wellington. This was also the time men started to refer the “cravat” as a “tie” as it is tied around the neck for the very first time.

 

The industrial revolution during the 18th and 19th century led to the modern tie, as the conservative knot was more practical on the factory floor and also this was around the time people started to wear ties to show their affiliations with different groups. A member of the Oxford university rowing club in 1880 created the very first “school tie” by removing the ribbons from his boaters hat and “four in hand” tied them around his neck and started the trend, and from there the idea caught on and developed into wearing ties to identify with various groups and clubs.

 

Also in the 1880’s saw the morning formal dress for men in the “ascot tie”, which became the standard as it was made famous by the fashionable King Edward Vll, who loved to wear it at the horse races, and all of Britain followed his lead. Thus it got its name from the famous horse racing event in England “The Royal Ascot” or “Bow Tie” usually worn with a pin in the middle.

A tie maker from New York “Jesse Langsdorf” started cutting the fabric of ties at a forty five degree angle, while utilizing a three piece construction, which allowed when tied in standard knots to drape evenly without twisting and giving us the modern look that we all wear today. No matter what size the knot, skinny or short, nor what fabric or color, the modern tie is still made in the basic “Langsdorf” design. Interestingly enough, Psychology relates the men’s tie as a “phallic symbol”.

 

On (and off ) the cuff with Gene Seidman: Unique, custom and very stylish handmade cuff links by Gene Seidman.

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I caught up with Gene right before he was about to leave for Art Basel in Miami Fl. Gene was inspired to create his one of a kind cuff links while he was working at The Museum of Modern Art as director of the graphic design department back in 1982. Gene said “I wanted to add some panache to my wardrobe”, and he was also inspired by his love of product design, so he started making cuff links out of various things he found, in fact he makes them from just about anything. Gene has made cuff links out of fender guitar picks, wine corks, vintage buttons, Mac keyboard keys, and has created a limited edition of MoMA admission buttons, which are very rare!

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There is also a series of Sim chip cuff links, made from actual sim cards, (I actually own a pair of these). Gene Seidman is the only person in the world that makes them. Also there is the “exotic skins” series of cuff links which are made from remnants of snake skin, kangaroo, and other exotic animal skins.


Each of his cufflinks has an interesting story behind their design. The latest creation by On the Cuff is “Pieces of New York”, which are cuff links made from pieces of sidewalks on various streets in NY during construction, and has made a limited edition of 10 pairs from 125th street in Harlem. “They are perfect for New Yorkers, tourists, and lovers of New York”, Gene said.

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After he started wearing them he received many compliments from friends and strangers alike, and would just give them away for free on the spot, due to his love of the world as well as design. Gene, who is also a very green person, won an award from the EPA which illustrates his commitment to sustainability.

 


He began selling his cuff links in pop up stores on the Lower East Side and Soho, and people would buy them on the spot upon seeing them. Mr. Seidman also makes earrings, rings and cuff links for woman. All of Gene’s accessories are worn by people all over the world, as he considers his designs global. Gene was also commissioned to design a limited edition series of horse derby cuff links for the annual Harlem Derby event held at Settepani restaurant in Harlem. All of Gene’s designs are made by hand in NYC.

About Gene: Gene Seidman is a private art dealer and directs Artra Worldwide New York as a managing partner who deals in primary and secondary art, and also promotes numerous emerging artists. In addition he has held interesting and educational art tours, which he offered in the last year. Mr. Seidman will also be curating two art shows in 2016. You can often find Gene dancing in Harlem at the Red Rooster to Rakim Walker, and at the Lenox Saphire.

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(Gene also designs double sided pocket squares, and will soon be available)

Gene Seidman is offering to readers of The Elegant Classy Gentleman a 10% discount on all orders placed by the end of this year. To order go to his website: http://www.onthecuff.nyc and email gene at: gene@onthecuffnyc and mention The Elegant Classy Gentleman in the subject line.

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(Gene’s Art Basil design cuff links)