The average male is afraid of using colors, whereas the average female is not. Why is that? Why are we scared of it? Cause its all about your comfort level.

People have a tendency to sit in said comfort zone. Well, to those people I say, grow up! Seriously! GROW UP! Only is it that when we step outside of our comfort zones is when we can grow. And only when you can man up and step outside of it is when you’re style can grow and evolve. Be afraid no more. Let me show you the path, young grasshopper.

Complementary Colors

Think of everything popular in our society….

supermanX-Men_05iron_man

Alright, so its not everything popular in our society, but besides reliving our childhoods, what else are you suppose to see? The colors! They have a certain synergy to them. They vibe off each other. The color coordination of their outfits have a certain dynamic that just work. Now I’m not telling you to don tights to be stylish, just giving you boys an easy way to learn a simple lesson. The real truth to it all rests below…

The Almighty Color Wheel

The Almighty Color Wheel

See there’s this thing called the color wheel. Our eyes are naturally attracted to opposite pairings on the color wheel. Comic book illustrators, artists, designers, they all understand this. But more importantly, YOU, as a guy need to. Some people have a natural knack for it. For those who aren’t so gifted… feel free to use this page as reference. Go ahead, buddy. Bookmark this page. I’ll wait. =)

Now just a little hint: the colors do not have to be directly opposite from each other. They can be from the same color/tone family, meaning they can be one step to the right or left of the opposing color. Think about it, the break down: Red + Green = Christmas. Step to the left of green: Red + Yellow = Iron Man. Step to the right of green: Red + Blue = Superman. Pretty simple, eh? Take the time to play around a bit. Have fun and enjoy yourself. Let them creative juices flow.

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People have been buying up scarves like mad at work.  (FYI: I work at a fashion-forward retailer.) It’s winter time and a scarf is a great way to add a slightly different touch to your outfit.  Did I mention they’re great for keeping warm?

Yup.  That’s right, fashion can be functional at times.

What boggles my mind is how many people don’t really know how to tie one and at best only know of one style of knot.  Now don’t get me wrong, it’s a great way to accessorize and accents the look of an outfit.  So even though everyone wants the look, many are at a loss on how to put it all together.  So for those of you who’ve been asking and all my regulars out there, here’s a quick guide on a couple of ways to tie ‘em.

The Ascot Knot

aka: The Once Around Knot

The Ascot Knot is the most basic of all knots.  Easiest to learn and easiest to use.  Tutorial pictures below.


The European

aka: The Parisian Knot

The European is my personal favorite because you can play with the tension and how far up the knot goes.  Basically allowing me to play around more with my look depending on what I’m wearing.  It goes great with either casual or dressy ensemble.

The Neck Wrap

As always, something for the over achievers out there.  The Neck Wrap encompasses a dash of sophistication here and a dash of details there.  This knot is a bit less functional and a bit more flashy, did I mention a tad more complicated than the others?

And the Final Product (the front of the neck)

Just in case: a quick lookbook for the guys who are unsure of how to seamlessly blend it in your outfits.  For those a couple French fries short of a happy meal, use these as a reference and not a step-by-step guide that you have to follow exactly.  Trust me.  I’ve seen a ton of guys that go to stores and buy the outfit off the mannequin. So guys out there, for your sake and for mine, please use a little bit of creativity.

Bonus: A couple of resources to check out

How-to Tie a Keffiyeh: aka Arab Scarf, aka Desert Scarf, aka Hip Hop Style, aka Bandana Style

A Comprehensive Guide + A Source Used for this Post

Detail Magazine’s Quick Video Tutorial

Not quite the sweater, and not quite the vest.  Yet the cardigan brings the best of both worlds to the table.  With winter right around the corner, it’s time to start layering.  What better way to spruce up your style than by adding a cardigan into your collection of clothes?  Timberlake did his thing and brought back the vest into mainstream fashion, but now the cardigan’s been on the rise and taking the spotlight with celebrities and fashionistas alike.

I can hear people thinking already “Why would I want to wear one?” Let’s get that question squared away and then we’ll check out a couple of different looks you can start using right away.

Why

  • Keeps you warm
  • Serves as a great layering piece, either under a jacket or as a standalone for an outer layer.
  • Emphasizes the highly regarded silhouette and enhances the desired V-taper guys want from clothes
  • Versatility: Can be dressed up and dressed down.  Produces very different looks for very different outfits, making it more of a staple. Basically, more bang for your buck!)

Five Looks You Can Incorporate Now

David Beckham: Photo Courtesy of Telegraph.co.uk

Rugged yet dressy, that’s what this look is all about.  This season is all about combining both hard and soft looks together through different layers.  Flannel shirt and a medium wash pair of jeans brought together with a more casual-styled belt drives home the rugged look.  Combined with the dressy elements of a cardigan and black tie easily ties the looks together.

Tip: Stick with a black tie, it’s a classic that will never go out of style and makes pairing tie and shirt combos easy.

—–

Jeffrey DonovanJeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice): Photo Courtesy of Men’s Health

Modern prep, how the cardigan used to be rocked back in the day, now updated.  Gingham button down with a patterned tie, brought together with a cardigan on top.  If you know how to wear a vest, this is exactly the same.  Nothing different from what guys are use to with the vest except the fact that you’ll be warmer and able to play with more looks.  To obtain the same style, unbutton the cuff on your dress shirt, flip it up and push your sleeves up for a more casual vibe.  Stay away from actually rolling up the sleeve, its just more a push, the cardigan’s sleeve should hold everything in place.

Tip: To change it up a bit, have the sleeves pushed up at varying lengths.

—-

Common (Rapper): Photo Courtesy of BET

For a style that’s fully dressed up and just downright classy.  Some days its just not cold enough to wear a jacket, yet still a bit chilly.  Same as above, wear it like how you would wear a vest.  It’s a great substitute for one and feel free to throw your suit jacket on top.  Think ‘black tie’ event or what you’d wear to work and simply add the cardigan as a layer.

Tip: Make sure the cardigan is the right length where you can show off a quarter inch of cuff.  It adds a nice dash of color to the ensemble that works especially well with dress shirts in vibrant colors!

—-

Vest + Cardigan: Photo Courtesy of Bijou Living

For those who want to take things to a completely different level.  This not only adds a couple of layers, but adds more dimensions to the look, with varying ‘V’ tapers in the outfit.  Different shades of the same color for both the vest and cardigan will create dimensions in the look that emphasizes style, without making the whole ensemble too loud.  If you wanna dress to impress and stand out from the crowd, here’s one outfit that’ll do just that.

Tip: Button as few buttons on the cardigan as possible, it’ll create more of a contrast between the two items.

—-

Ryan ReynoldsRyan Reynolds (Van Wilder): Photo Courtesy of Men’s Health

This look is simply casual.  A simple V neck paired with a cardigan with the sleeves pushed up.  Pair it with anywhere from a medium-light wash pair of jeans all the way to dark.  Just make sure you’re boots align with the wash.

Tip: Motorcycle is optional.

—-

A couple of rules of thumb before you leave

…and a personal tidbit or two

  • Go with neutral colors for your first purchase (black, gray, white).  It’ll make things a lot easier to pair up.
  • Stick with solid colors.  They have ones with patterns, designs, and graphics.  If you’re a pairing genius then by all means go for those, if not… stick with the solids.  With P,D, and G’s it gives more of a casual vibe, but this can still be achieved with a solid color.
  • Buttoned or Unbuttoned.  If buttoned, keep the last button undone.  It’ll sit better this way and prevent this weird bubble in your midsection (aka “I just had a huge meal and gotta a gut” look).  If you look back on the ‘different looks’ section you’ll see what I’m talking about.
  • Personally I like a bit of symmetry on what buttons I keep undone. So if one is undone on the bottom, I undo one on top. Same applies for two buttons.

—-

Be creative when wearing a cardigan.  Test out different looks!  Instead of focusing on just buttoned up or unbuttoned go a step further, play with the number of buttons you have buttoned or unbuttoned.  A good rule of thumb: don’t button the last button.  It’ll flare out, which gives the same appearance of an untucked dress shirt, but more importantly it won’t balloon up in a weird fashion.  But more importantly, have fun and enjoy!

Plaid = Bad !!!! ‘Nuff said

Well it should be, for the inquisitive minds who think not, continue reading.

plaidcollage

The Fashion industry’s revival of plaid is essentially the perversion of a classic American pattern, gingham.  Just the way its portrayed makes it seem like the ugly stepchild of gingham to be put on a freak show, lumberjack style.  Yea, I know, the current fashion trend comes from a worker inspired look, sadly the blue-collar one.  I call it like I see it and as I see it: a bunch of industry leaders thinking it would be a great idea to mock a socioeconomic class by creating pieces inspired by their dress and uniform in order to create a “fun” fashion trend/craze.  Burberry must be throwing a serious fit with all the other brands throwing out all sort of outlandish plaid variations.  Talk about taking classy to trashy in less than .05 seconds.

The streets run amok with kids to young professionals wearing this bastardization.  If the young bucks of high school are sporting it, do you think it’s REALLY a good idea for a stylish person such as yourself to be rocking it?  I can admit that I’m being a little harsh.  I’ll allot using plaid as a way to accent your look, but it’s ridiculous to use it as your core piece (aka a plaid button-up).  Not to mention they make it worse by throwing in a bunch of vibrant 80’s inspired colors.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love vibrant colors, but seriously…

Really?!

plaid11

Top Reasons to NOT Wear Plaid

  • It’s a wannabe gingham that desecrates the classic American look.  Stick to gingham or madras even if you have to, you’ll thank me later.
  • You’re not a cowboy or a lumberjack.  Nor are we wearing kilts!
  • It makes you look like a farmer, or the abomination child of a hick and someone from the 80’s.  I can hear it now… “What’s up baby, you want a jolly rancher?” Yea buddy. That’s you. Super bright, vibrantly colored, farmer-looking boy.
  • Style is more important than fashion or trends.  I’m pretty sure your gonna end up throwing that s4!t away later on, good job on money “well spent”.  Better to save money and spend it on something more worthwhile.
  • You’re gonna look just like EVERYONE else.  Be known for style and class.  Not someone hopelessly following and chasing fashion trends

But then again, this is just my NOT SO humble opinion.  Feel free to state your point of view.

Your outfits are plain.  They’re drab.  Oh yea, did I mention boring?  Yea, if it’s just neutral and classic colors that’s the case.  I see ya, sticking to the safety of your blacks and whites.  And maybe if you’re daring enough, you venture to the gray department.  Well, let’s help you add a little spice to how you outfit.

As guys, we have that tendency to be a bit more visual.  So pictures are called for.

Black with Splash of Color

Yea. That’s Right. I’m rockin’ a vibrant pink.  It’s a predominantly black ensemble with a splash of color.  If you’re a guy that has a wardrobe heavily filled with classic/neutral colors, this is a good way to go for your outfits.  Grab something that can be used as a layer or a small part of the outfit to add a dash of color to your look.

This is not your grandfather’s gray, nor his cardigan.  Gray is a great neutral color to pair up.  Most people stick with the blacks and whites, change it up with some gray.  Just like the black outfit above, the gray is used as the neutral canvas and the yellow is where the splash is at.  Gray is a better choice than black for the summer.  I dig it because it has the versatility as both a fall and summer color.  Bonus: Gray pairs extremely well with bright vibrant colors.

To break it down for those who aren’t too sharp.  Neutral colors (black, white, gray) go with everything!  So there is no wrong way to pair it up.  Everyone has neutral outfits and looks already.  This is just an easy way to start incorporating colors (even wild ones!) to your outfit.  This is the first step to going outside your comfort zone.  Adding a tad bit of color to a “safe” outfit takes it to another level.  It’s not fashion or a by-product of its trend, it’s just simple.  It pops. Adds a bit of flair. Maybe even a tinge of personality.

Try it out.  Experiment.  But most importantly, develop a style of your own.

When it comes to clothes, women have a significant advantage over us. We wine ‘em and dine ‘em, so where does their money go to? Retail. Which I have no complaints because I appreciate them getting all dolled up. But have you ever notice that their clothes are always at better prices and their sales make ours look shabby? Not to mention that retailers have a knack at making their clothes fit well, while we’re left with shirts that are somewhat boxy. Well the second part of this series will continue to help you with the battle of getting a leg up on ‘em.

Note: You do not have to start at Part 1, but it’s always nice.

Next on the list: Outlets

There is no shame in going to an outlet and you can find many great deals there. Everything will be already discounted and when they have sales the savings continue to pile up. Now if only my bank roll would follow suit… Anyways, I think this is the best place to start, though the customer service is not too great, but that’s why it’s always good to bring a female/well-dressed friend (i.e. Me!) along to help with the initial upgrade in style.

For those that reside in Austin (or the general vicinity) and visit either the outlets in San Marcos or Round Rocks here are a few tips. If you have similar stores in your area, listen up!

gstarraw

(Round Rock)

They have highly discounted stuff from their regular prices. My friend picked up a stylish blazer for $15, which retailed for more than $100. The style of the clothes is a bit eccentric, but this is great to add flair to any ensemble. Personally, I like the urban edginess they bring to their line. Simply put, it’s pimpin’. By no means pick up your staple items, but little personality quirks is what this place is all about!

aldo

(both outlets)

This is by far my favorite place to shop for shoes. Always have top of the line styles, always fashionable. It’s like Express/ H&M, but for shoes! On top of that they have trendy accessories at decent prices. A little secret about their outlet stores that I learned on accident: They will have shoes on sale here that are still priced full price at the regular store in the malls. I picked up a pair of white loafers at $30 at the outlet that was still marked at full price of $80 when I checked the mall the next week. Best part of it all is that if they don’t have your size they will ship it in for you. They did it for my white loafers. They ship to the store where you request it at and shipping is free, but they don’t ship to where you live as far as I know.

ax

(San Marcos)

Great designs, well outside of the ridiculous label splashing on the clothes. Thankfully all their clothes don’t end up this way. My main buy here is blazers/jackets. Grab ‘em for $100 that are usually priced at $300 and up. Best time to shop is right after a season ends. Fit = great, ’nuff said.

saksfifthavenue

(San Marcos)

Designer clothes! What more do I need to say? I tend to just pick up designer denim here (Rock & Republic, 7 for all mankind, True Religion, etc) or shoes. Shirts aren’t too impressive here, but if you want to be a super flashy label whore, then by all means pick up a piece to make you look snob-tastic! But for me, I’m more of a bang for your buck type of guy, so to each their own.

ag(Round Rock)

AG’s are designer jeans that normally retail at $125 and up. The fits are great, look for stretch denim. These jeans are always on top of their game. They have a line exclusive for Entourage. From my knowledge, the actors wear only these jeans in the show. All of my friends swear by different cuts and we each have our favorites. My preference lies with the Fillmore. They have many opportunities to grab jeans at prime prices. The best deal I’ve seen that occurs somewhat frequently runs about $30, but beware because it’s not clearly marked at times. Make sure to ask. It never hurts to ask…

truereligion

(San Marcos)

This one has opened up recently. My friend swears by their jeans. Check it out. Haven’t shopped their enough to give you the goods on this one. I personally feel that this brand can work on their pocket. The pocket placement doesn’t make for a flattering fit, I dub ’em as “saggy booty” syndrome, but hey, maybe that was their intention. Nevertheless, discount off of designer jeans is discount!

These are the main things that are of interest. Of course they carry all the other regular stores that we commonly see: Gap, Banana Republic, Kenneth Cole (a favorite), etc. The stores listed above are the more exceptional ones that have perks that stand out more to me. And if you’re ever near the Austin area, stop by and see what’s up. You’re bound to grab a steal or two.

Be sure to check out part 3.

-cjow