Fellas, Guyliner? – Halloween Only, Please

I must admit, women are beautiful creations. Graceful and shapely, delicate and soft, ladies have a lot going in – and make-up ONLY makes it better. I have always envied women make-up, not in any sort of I-wanna’-wear-it-way but in the dang-she-looks-good-without-it-but-superfine-with-it-way. Ladies have a definite advantage over men when it comes to make-up – it helps bring out natural beauty and hide any flaws or imperfections that may exist.

Guys? We get acne cover stick and maybe some tinted moisturizer…

In recent years, however, men have started to “butch up” make-up and appropriate it for our own fair gender. Ladies’ blush became men’s “bronzer.” Ladies’ fragranced bath soaps became masculine “body washes.” Heck, even ladies’ face and neck creams have morphed into men’s “skin toning lotions.” But one thing cannot be “butched up,” no matter how hard we try – eyeliner. Sure, maybe if you are a rock star you can pull that look off but gentlemen? Guyliner always looks like girl liner to me. For example:

I think Adam Lambert,

Adam Lambert Guylinerclearly must have taken inspiration from movie and beauty icon, Dame Elizabeth Taylor…

Elizabeth Taylor

Just as matinee star Jarod Leto,

Jerod Leto Guyliner 1

Must be channeling fashion designer Mary-Kate Olsen…

Mary-Kate Olsen

And are Pete Wentz and Ashlee Simpson (pre/mid reconstructive surgery) actually the same person?

Pete Wentz Guyliner

Ashlee SimpsonDon’t get me wrong – each of these people are beautiful but, guys, really? Forget the guyliner. It makes you look kinda’ “girl-y” (sorry). Maybe at Halloween, or on other “Special Occasions” when you feel like “dressing up” (I adore you, Raven!):

Raven

 

Who Thinks This Stuff Up?

This has been on my desktop for a while: A step-by-step guide to tying an Eldredge Tie Knot:

Eldredhe Tie KnotI mean really – who thinks this stuff up? What man in their right mind would ever commit to wearing a necktie with a knot that requires fifteen – FIFTEEN – separate, coordinated steps to create the desired look? No one I know…

Listen, don’t get me wrong. I like to think I am “fashion forward.” And I really, really do like ties – they are the ONLY fashion accessory that men have that allows us to compete with women and their scarves and hats and jewelry, etc. Mens’ suits remain fairly standard from season to season to season – sure, maybe the lapels get skinnier or wider – or disappear all together, but men are essentially given shoes, socks, pants, shirts and jackets – not too many pieces to have fun with. But ties, OMG, ties – woven, printed and knitted ties. Silk or linen or woolen ties. Skinny or wide, long or short, bow tie or standard – ties are the ONLY men’s fashion accessory, in my humble opinion.

So why the Eldredge Knot?

Surely the man that wears this knot has a delicate neck and an extremely L-O-N-G necktie. Remember – fifteen steps, many involving a “wrap” or a “twist.” And forget about a small circumference neck – the man that sports an Eldredge must have a long, graceful neck – like a giraffe – otherwise that massive knot of fabric at his throat would swallow his face. But who wears this knot?

The Eldredge Tie Knot Look how dapper that looks, with a sporty button down collar and a cute sweater vest. But wait – a skull and crossbones tie bar? Really? Pre-pubescent facial hair? Oh, NOW I see who wears this knot – this guy:

Eldregde Knot GuyYup. A hipster, of course. So, if I “deconstruct” this pic – this guy has never started shaving, the vest is a thrift-shop find, he spends 25 minutes using Bed Head hair products to make his hair look like he never combed it, the button-down shirt is a gift from his parents at Christmas and the tie knot is a quiet-but-bold personal fashion statement that says, “Hey bro’, I am cool.” (I guess the skull and crossbones tie bar and/or the ear gauges were maybe too understated?) And he drinks chai lattes.

You know what? More power to this guy, and any man that wants to risk getting hives in an attempt to tie this complicated knot. Maybe I don’t know a lot about men’s fashion but I do know this – when your tie knot is approximately the same size/shape as your chin, well, maybe it’s not the greatest fashion statement.

At least not for me…

Saturday PM – 3F’s

Today is the first day in a three-day weekend away from work and, to kick off the next 72 hours or so, Martin and I are attending a big 3F Event tonight – friends, food and fire.

Tonight we are going to our first “fall-ish” party, a fire pit party that will have lots of good friends, loads of good food and – hopefully – a great, gigantic roaring fire. And while it may be a little early in the season to be hoping for a lot of these…

early fall leaves…the air has been cool for the past couple days so I suspect this evening will be no different. It is definitely a time for “hoodies” and long pants, LOL! We are excited to see our friends, some whom we have not seen in months. It will definitely be a great time… Plus, if there could be any of this going on…

toasting marshmallows… then the evening will move from perfect to sublime. It is always magical for me when the seasons change, and Fall is absolutely my favorite season. We are excited about this casual backyard get-together and know it is the kick-off to our most amazing Fall ever. Now, off to find a cute “outfit” to wear!

Freezer Burn (The New Avengers Flick!)

Today my beloved and I went to an open casting call for extras for the new Avengers movie, tentatively entitled “Freezer Burn,” that will be filming segments here in Cleveland in the coming months. The directions stated the following: “Applications accepted 10A till 3P, professional attire, bring a pen. No early line ups.” That all seems pretty simple, right?

So, Martin and I entered the line at 10:21 AM, behind what I am guess-timating to be over 1000 people. Clearly some people lined up early. We waited in line for over four hours outside, in freezing rain and tornado force winds. Once inside, we waited an additional 40 minutes before being cattle called into a room to hear five minutes of instructions. We then filled out a piece of paper with about fifteen questions and had our picture taken. It was fun (mostly) and I am glad we did it, especially together, but it made me question the ability of most people to follow directions…

First was the line; I mean, there was simply no way that many people could have even PARKED in 21 minutes and gotten in line. It was like those amusements park rides, only without the “You-have-a-four-hour-wait-from-this-point” signs. I was afraid I would have to “go potty” way before it was over; thankfully, my bladder did me proud.

line(I WISH it had been this warm and sunny in line today!)

Next, the attire. Now I am no clothes horse, or any sort of male super model but “professional attire” suggests (at least to me) ties and dress shirts for guys and blouses and slacks for the ladies – at a MINIMUM. I have to say, I have never seen so many poorly dressed people gathered in one place. I was actually a little embarrassed for our city; I’m not sure that sweat pants and graphic tees qualify as professional attire.

badly-dressed-people-72044693 (1)(I’m sorry, Monsieur Gaultier – I disagree!)

Finally, bring a pen. The instructions weren’t “Bring your original birth certificate” or “Bring a recent blood sample” – it was “Bring a pen.” Is that hard?

pens(Everybody has “this” drawer at their house, am I right?)

Anyway, all in all, it was a fun experience, and something to cross off my “Bucket List.” I hope we both get calls; it won’t be any fun doing it without sharing the experience together. I’ll keep you posted; who knows, in a movie coming to theaters soon, my Sweetie and I might appear in the closing credits as “Handsome Man with Tie” and “Chubby Guy with Beard” – stay tuned!!!

the end(Wish me luck – “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille!”)

 

 

These boots were made for walking, but not down any runway…

So, the weather here has been a bit crappy of late – cold, snow, “yuk” on the ground (yuk = slush) – you know, all the typical “winter” stuff.  As I have lived in Ohio for 99.1% of my life, winter is no surprise to me, more like an inconvenience or an annoyance.   I don’t mind it, really.  Sometimes I find it quite beautiful – fresh snow, everything all white and smooth, like a landscape covered in marshmallow creme.  Or after an ice storm, when everything is all crystalline and sparkly (and we still have power!)  But what struck me as odd today, as I was considering winter, was how I distinctly remember an entirely different winter wardrobe as a child, compared to my “adult” winter attire.  In particular, I thought about these today:

boots

Yessir, classic five buckle rubber boots, the footwear I HATED as a child. When did I stop wearing these?  I mean, I wear more expensive shoes now than I ever did as a child, and my feet quit growing many years ago (meaning I have the probability of wearing shoes “longer”) so when did I quit wearing boots?

Or hats?  I must have had a dozen or more of these growing up:

hat

I had black hats and blue hats and those weird hats you pulled down over your face like bank robbers wear. I had hats with stripes and hats with pom-pom balls on top and I may even have had a logo-d Shelby Whippets hat (the old scarlet and gray).  I mean, when – better yet, WHY – did I stop wearing hats?

I  proportionally have less hair now than I have ever had since birth.  The “place where my guardian angel sits” (my bald spot!) is larger now than ever – and men lose like 70% of heat thru the top of our heads in winter.  So, when did I leave behind my child “winter wardrobe” and decide that being an adult meant ruining leather shoes and having a chilly head when the snow flies?

I’m not sure what the answer to my question is – maybe its vanity, maybe its rebellion (Mom ALWAYS made me wear those stupid boots!), maybe its just the natural order of life when we “…leave childish ways and pursuits behind.”  I’m not sure wearing boots, hats and gloves are childish ways – I’m gonna’ have to revisit that and give that some serious consideration.

In the meantime, most winter items are now drastically reduced for clearance.  Plus, my beloved Martin always looks incredibly chic and handsome in his hats, gloves and scarves. Who knows?  One day soon you might  see me sporting a pair of  these babies…

They are ridiculously fashionable and sporty, am I right?

earmuffs

The Evolution of Man – Fashion Edition

I saw it again yesterday and it makes me sad every time I see it – a man wearing a style of clothing or a label that is clearly not flattering or age-appropriate.

We men are vain creatures. We say we aren’t but we are. And, just like “the ladies,” I believe we struggle with body issues and aging as much as they do. The thing is, they talk about it and support/help one another. Together, they come to grips with the realities of life.

We men do not, which is probably why I saw a gentleman in his mid-fifties sporting an A&F logo “hoodie” yesterday. Don’t get me wrong, I myself wear hoodies frequently but not one that was designed for a tight-bodied twenty-something. And that is where men derail in the fashion arena.

Most men’s fashion houses design for male bodies that look like this:

Image

when, in reality, most male bodies – mine included – look more like this:

Image

So, this is where the problems really begin. Now, I am not suggesting that all men wear loose, button-down shirts and pleated khaki pants but guys, really – we need to be honest with ourselves, maybe take a minute and objectively consider our “fashion realities.”

Women have so many resources to help them; men are more limited in fashion style guides. Beyond GQ and Details, guys have few places to reference for style guidance. So, in the spirit of helping my brethren, I humbly submit my own fashion timeline/guideline for your consideration. Here are my thoughts on a few national brands that most men should be familiar with – I have arranged them in an age-appropriate format so you can easily see what I believe is the fashion evolution we all are destined to follow…

Under 18 – Hollister – This body-conscious, beach-identified brand is best worn by boys who have yet to experience puberty, with shoulder, waist and hip measurements all about 30″. Once you develop facial hair, say goodbye to this label.

18 to 21 – American Eagle Outfitters Once you get your driver’s license, you graduate from “beachy” Hollister to the bit more grunge-y AE. Flannel shirts, oversize cargo shorts with eleventy-million pockets, flip-flops and woven leather bracelets create the AE signature look.

21 to 21 – A&F (Abercrombie & Fitch) – If you like clothes that look like they came from a thrift store – meaning distressed, faded and full of holes – then A&F is your brand. This brand has made millions on $50+ graphic tees. BTW, the window to wear this label is so short because all the clothes are so tightly-fitted that, should you breathe, they will explode at the seams.

21 to 24 – A/X (Armani Exchange) – Now that you are old enough to drink, you’ll want to start wearing this “I’m-hot-n-horny, looking-to-get-laid” label. The first label that made men feel like sex objects, A/X is well known for plunging V-neck tees with metallic A/X logs all over them.

24 to 30 – Express Men – The first fashion chain offering both professional and casual attire, the Express Man has a penchant for rainbow-colored shirts with no breast pockets in stretchy fabrics expertly paired with color-coordinated skinny ties and crazy, contrasting socks.

30 to 35 – Banana Republic/The Gap – These two fashion labels have blurred into the same aesthetic in my mind: lean, tailored silhouettes in muddy colors. A bit more refined version of Express Men, these two offer over-priced basics in boring, corporate colors.

35 to 40 – Brooks Brothers – The “mid-life/career” shift has begun and we move from the body-conscious styles of our youth to the more professional, slightly more relaxed fit of this venerable style house. The Brooks Brothers golden fleece logo speaks to the pricing at this chain.

40 to 45 – Jos. A Bank Clothiers – As our careers gel, we continue our fashion evolution at Joe Bank, where tailored, affordable suits live alongside cool golf duds. This is the window when polo shirts enter our lives, suitable for wearing on “Casual Fridays.”

45 to 50 – Casual Male XL/Casual Male Big & Tall – As our careers blossom, so do our waistlines and we are forced to seek out stores that cater to our more, um, “fulfilled” lifestyles. This could well be the bracket during which we purchase – gasp – our first pair of pants with a hidden, adjustable elastic waistband. Shudder.

50 and up – Regrettably, this is where most men derail, fashion-wise, because there is no label/chain for this age, and beyond. Sure, most of us will probably trade-in our Joe Banks polos for camp shirts from Tommy Bahama, but this really is where men’s fashion “falls apart.”  This is when we need each other the most…

Hopefully by the time we all reach fifty, we will be confident enough in ourselves and secure enough in our skins to not be seduced by clothes that promise to make us feel young. I ask all my brothers to help one another – don’t fall prey to vanity. Share your thoughts with your male friends. Let’s help one another.

When you see that fifty-year old white guy in a logo starter jacket or worse yet, saggin’ in a pair of oversize jeans, make a mental note of that image and remember it. And maybe hope/pray that guy passes a mirror and really “sees” himself.