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J.FitzPatrick

J.FitzPatrick Shoes

The founder of the largest shoe blog in the world has his own brand of shoes. Apprenticed under the renown Stefano Bemer, Justin FitzPatrick launched his first collection in 2013 and quickly became one of the choice shoes for men interested in quality and value. The shape of his shoes conjures an old world charm with a modern sleekness. Plus you get a lot of bang for your buck. Check out the website here or some of his styles below.

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Save Khaki United

Made in USA is a mantra of this classic Americana brand. Their website is a one-stop-shop for the everyman casual basics like tees and sweatshirts. The tshirts in particular are incredibly soft and their attitude toward customer service is wonderful. They were recently featured up by Bergdorf Goodman, so buy now before the prices go up. Visit their website here.

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Save Khaki United

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Allbirds

Allbirds

I sometimes feel like an evangelist for this brand after discovering them about a week after their US release. They are wool sneakers--washable, don’t smell, feels like socks-with-soles, wool sneakers. My clients love them, my friends love them, you will love them. They have a 30 day wear guarantee. No, I don’t get commission on this endorsement.

They also make a lounger.

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Field Jacket

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Field Jacket

If you're a little confused what to wear when it’s cool but not cold and a blazer is too dressy but a Barbour is too casual, you might like a field jacket. It’s a little more tailored so you could wear it equally with a casual button down or a dress shirt. Some come with loads of hardware, but if you keep it modest with examples like these, it could fill a gap in your everyday wardrobe.

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Unfussy Scarves

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Unfussy Scarves

Most guys don’t want to look fussy or like they’ve spent too much time thinking about their outfit. Scarves are the opposite of that feeling--they blow in the wind and you’re forever trying to arrange so it doesn’t flop wildly. But they can serve the practical function of warmth and an aesthetic function--a nice scarf with a blazer can dress up an otherwise dull outfit if you’re not in the mood for a tie. Here are some muted examples from Instagrammer @stylejournaldaily:

I like to tie it like a regular necktie, minus the last “through the loop” step for a contained and simple look. Check out the video here.

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Collar Roll

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Collar Roll

Picture Credit: @v__s__b

Picture Credit: @v__s__b

It’s hard to spend money on a nice shirt that is mostly hidden under a jacket all day. Fancy shirts try to distinguish themselves in all sorts of ways (mother-of-pearl buttons, stitches per inch, expensive cloth, and hand cut button holes to name a few) many of which don’t really matter when it comes to the job of a shirt--namely to cover your body and hold a tie. If you’re not wearing a tie, then the collar should frame your face. A limp collar makes your shirt look cheap, or that you bought the wrong size, while an overly stiff collar can make you look very rigid and, more importantly, feel uncomfortable. Primarily on buttondown collars the roll of the point has become an indicator of thoughtful construction. It has an air of elegance in the most simple of things and belies the quality of an everyday garment.

One note: this collar roll is only for shirts with a button down collar.

Collar roll is largely personal preference. It adds a bit of elegance to an otherwise normal shirting element and part of the attraction is the way in which it plans room for the tie knot. Otherwise the tie is pushing the shirt out of the way, which is ironic only because collars are supposed to be made for ties.

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Follow on Instagram

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How To Dress: Networking Event

Selecting the best wardrobe for a networking event might be an afterthought or add an extra layer of stress if you're already nervous. The correct outfit is one part message, one part comfort and can vary based on the venue and purpose. So even if business casual is de rigueur is your line of work, it's important to consider the following tips:


Examples arranged from dressy to casual. Captions viewable on tablet & PC.

Message

Venue
Where are you going? A tech conference invites a different level of formality that would be out of place at a financial convention.

Purpose
Are you attending as a presenter, sponsor, or guest? Are you hosting other attendees? Where are you sitting?

Colors
'Dress to Impress' is a great tip, but you don't want to put a wall between you and your audience.


Comfort

Remember you'll probably be sitting a good bit, so you'll want to wear clothing that has a little bit of give to keep you comfortable and focused on the speaker. Conference rooms often run cold so a blazer or dressy V-neck sweater will keep you warm and help you look great. Lastly, don't forget to pick good shoes that are comfortable for lots of walking without appearing too orthotic or casual.

If you feel comfortable, you'll look and sound comfortable ultimately reinforcing your confidence. Happy networking!


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Closet: Business Rugged

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The Importance of Appearances

Videos like this remind us that, unfortunately, appearances can make all the difference.



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Joshua Davis is a full time image and lifestyle coach helping clients take control of their image as a tool for good communication.

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Basic Shoe Care

Clients and blog readers alike will be familiar with my propensity to spend a little more on something that I know will last a long time like the $650 shell cordovan shoes that last 50 years. In terms of cost-per-wear, that's a heck of a payoff. But like anything that stands the test of time, shoes need some maintenance to get your money's worth.

Polish

The job of polish is twofold: (1) it covers blemishes on the shoe and makes it shine and (2) it lubricates the leather. In the same way you have to treat and care for your leather seats, your shoes need some TLC to prevent them from drying out over time.


Cedar Shoe Trees

Shoe trees are amazingly important in caring for your shoes. The wood absorbs excess moisture that can rot the stitching or cause fungal/bacterial odors. The cedar smell also serves as a deterrent to would-be bugs and pests.


Cloth/Brush

You're going to want a genuine horsehair brush to remove the polish and heat up the leather. A good lint-free cloth is also an asset, especially when applying Rénovateur and cordovan care cream.

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Saphir Rénovateur

Hands down one of the industry's best leather treatments, this pigment-free renovation cream is made from a mink oil and beeswax base that is great for moisturizing and repairing even the most difficult pull-up leathers like chromexcel.


How to Strip Polish Off Leather

In the event that you get a little too carried away with your polishing, isopropyl rubbing alcohol is a great tool for removing everything down to the bare leather. I had to do this after applying too much cordovan care cream and it took me a couple hours. Take every precaution to go slowly as the last thing you want to do is damage the leather.


Heel and Sole

As you walk you may notice the edges of the sole will get scuffed by curbs and debris. Allen Edmonds Heel & Sole is a great solution to re-dying the rim back to a factory finish.


Shell Cordovan

Shell cordovan is one of the easiest materials to maintain and can really take a beating, but it's still important to take care of heirloom quality goods. Cordovan shoes don't really need to be polished like calf skin shoes, but when they get scuffed you'll want to spot treat them with some cordovan care cream. You'll also want to make a habit of brushing the shoes about once a week--the heat build up will release the oils of this naturally lubricating leather.



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Joshua Davis is a full time image and lifestyle coach helping clients take control of their image as a tool for good communication.

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Steaming vs. Ironing

A few years ago I was traveling in Ukraine and pressing a dress shirt in my host's house as she turned the corner. She watched me for a moment and then thrust her open hands my direction, insisting with thick Russian accent, "Give to me; I do for you." 

Apparently I am terribly slow at ironing, which is laughable considering my profession. I learned how to iron in the Young Marines when our uniforms had to be pressed for inspection and I guess I never lost the attention to detail. But when I got fed up spending 10 minutes to press a single shirt I went in search of a better way.

I started with a cheap Homedics steamer purely as a way to save time but I eventually stumbled across an article from Jiffy that completely changed the reason I steam. Just read what they have to say:


Your clothes are an investment. Don't you want to apply the safest, gentlest method for removing wrinkles?

To determine which method of removing wrinkles is the better option for fabric care, steaming and ironing were put to the test.

  • Two identical 6" x 6" squares of black wool were purchased from a local fabric store.

  • We steamed sample "A" for 1 minute with a Model J-2000 Jiffy ® Steamer.

  • Sample "B" was ironed for 1 minute, on the proper heat setting, with a top-of-the-line residential iron.

  • We then bagged, labeled, and submitted both samples to MVA Scientific Consultants in Norcross, Georgia for detailed magnification.

The Scanned Electron Microscope (SEM) images show any damage that may have occurred.

Image courtesy of Jiffy - http://www.jiffysteamer.com/steamIron/

Image courtesy of Jiffy - http://www.jiffysteamer.com/steamIron/

The fibers in sample "A" are in near perfect condition due to the gentle nature of steam. However, the fibers in sample "B" are clearly distorted. You can easily recognize the damaged fibers caused by just one application of the iron's hot sole plate.

Unlike ironing, steam actually relaxes the fibers rather than crushing them.


The article certainly appealed to me. My clothes are an investment and my clients' clothes are an investment. Not only do steamers save time, they are actually better for your clothes. Here are a couple I particularly recommend:

  • Rowenta IS6200 - The price on this one averages around $99 with free shipping. It has a 60 second start time, which is just long enough to turn it on with an easy foot pedal, pick out your shirt, and turn back around to steam it. It also comes with a handy attachment that allows you to put a crease down your pant leg or flatten a button placket. 
  • Jiffy J-2000 or J-4000 - Jiffy is the industry leader for commercial steamers. The 2000 is enough for most home use with a two minute boot up and a run time of at least an hour and a half. The 4000 is something I usually only see in high-end boutiques and department stores and gives you an extra thirty minutes of steam. They are both a little more spendy but also more durable if you have kids or pets in the house.
 
$89.99
 
$153.99
 
$240.49
 


Joshua Davis is a full time image and lifestyle coach helping clients take control of their image as a tool for good communication.

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NeverWet: Never Again

I'm sure you've seen videos of super hydrophobic surfaces making their rounds on social media, most notably NeverWet from Rustoleum, whose video wowed me into hunting down a couple of cans and giving it a go. I image you've experience the frustration of spilling food or maybe a glass of wine on your favorite shirt only to find that no dry cleaner in the world can remove the stain. I've killed Burberry shirts and Galliano pants and even a pair of blue suede shoes so I was pretty eager to curb my destructive ways.

I hopped online and ordered the mystical spray. It arrived as a two can set--a base layer and a top coat, with some pretty exacting directions for application. I liked the standing water demo in their video so I grabbed a piece of cardboard and followed their directions, meticulously. I waited the requisite drying time and was amazed to see water cascade off my tester. Now armed with confidence, I grabbed a couple different garments (like the video) and began applying the base coat to a pair of Fisk shoes, my Senz Umbrella and an Armani Jeans jacket I liked to wear when the weather was bad.

I applied the base coat and was immediately apprehensive--it looked like there was a milky white layer over the khaki shoes, red umbrella, and black jacket. I thought it may be an issue of drying time, or that the top coat would react and render the solution clear, but man was I wrong.

I didn't notice in the video, until I re-watched it later, that they only ever applied their product to white garments. In the bit where the guy sprays mustard on himself, he is wearing a white t-shirt, white pants and white shoes! I initially thought that was to illustrate the contrast of the bright yellow mustard--but I've since realized it's because the NeverWet turns everything white. Rewind to the cardboard demo and you'll even see what looks like white frosting around the edges. I thought nothing of it at the time.

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So now I have a milky whitish pair of shoes, a light red umbrella, and a dingy Armani jacket. And the worst part--aside from how the clothes feel with the solution applied--is that the solution doesn't really work. I was meticulous about applying both coats evenly and from the correct distance but when I drip water on the surface, the liquid finds any gap in the protection, seeps into the fabric and then spreads underneath the NeverWet solution effectively discoloring the product.

While I usually promote items on this blog I wanted to offer a word of warning--don't buy NeverWet for your clothes. And for the price, don't buy it for your cardboard boxes either...just go buy a cooler.

Notes: Home Depot provided a full refund for the product. This guy had more luck applying NeverWet, though still on white shoes, and gets the credit for the thumbnail photo.


Joshua Davis is a full time image and lifestyle coach helping clients take control of their image as a tool for good communication.

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Luggage - How Gentleman Travel

I was walking through Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris a few years ago when my carry-on bag split down the middle dumping the entire contents on the terminal floor. For onlookers it was surely a comedic mishap...how does a bag split right down the middle?

The TSA may still be the bane of your travels but here are some bags that can stand up to the punishment of a guy on the go. A good bag should (1) last you a long time #lifetime (2) look good and (3) be realistic for your own travels.

Rimowa - Founded in 1898 they certainly have been around a long time. They were one of the first to launch a waterproof aluminum case in the 60s and in 2000 they debuted the industry's first polycarbonate luggage. I can attest from personal experience and expert reviews that polycarbonate is the holy grail of indestructible luggage. This will last you a long time and is nondescript enough to avoid attention in an airport yet classy enough to roll in any hotel. Plus it will stand up to baggage handlers and bellhops alike.

Tumi - A very popular brand in modern travel, Tumi has successfully aligned themselves with the frequent flyer. They are the entry luggage for people that want durability and style. And with a broad range of leather and polycarbonate they can meet almost any need from daily carry messenger bags to train cases that match your private jet decor.

Saddleback - If your path isn't always paved, you may require something a little more rugged like a handcrafted bag from Saddleback Leather. I've mentioned these guys before in Blog: The Basics of Leather. Their bags are unique because they focus on using as few individual pieces as possible, which leaves less room for weak points in seams and closures. In addition to their meticulous design, they only use full grain leather so you'll have a bag that can go pretty much everywhere. While these bags aren't necessarily as convenient as the wheeled versions from Tumi and Rimowa, they do come with a 100 year warranty so you'll only have to buy it once.

Those are my top three picks for quality luggage. There are a few other brands that, while nice, don't meet all 3 criteria (longevity, aesthetics, and realistic). They are listed below:

  • Titan - A real competitor to RIMOWA in the polycarbonate hardshell luggage but increasingly difficult to find as their USA division recently closed and is no longer honoring their warranties. You can still find these in Germany from the original manufacturer.
  • Hermès - We all know the Birkin and the Kelly but Hermès also makes some very attractive luggage for both men and women. Unfortunately it fails the 'realistic' test at $10,000 per bag.
  • Hartmann - I used to love Hartmann and saw them as every bit the competitor to Tumi, but they were recently acquired by Samsonite and now I'm holding my breath to see how that will affect the brand. I do have one of their older pieces and love it.
  • Ghurka - These bags are beautiful in their own right but were displaced on my list by Saddleback. The quality level of Ghurka is probably comparable but their higher price point and lackluster warranty demoted them to this lesser list.
  • Bosca - I admit that I don't have much hands-on time with Bosca and I included them on this list solely because of their overwhelming popularity in the marketplace. From my limited exposure I've always found the brand to feel cheap and overpriced, especially when compared to some of the other options in this post. My advise--if you're looking for bags and you're looking at Bosca, keep looking. You may find something else you like a whole lot more.

Joshua Davis is a full time image and lifestyle coach helping clients take control of their image as a tool for good communication.


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How to Look Taller - Part 4: Fit

The most detrimental issue for the majority of men is poor fit. Their clothes sag off of them like hand-me-downs and create the perception that they are insignificant. While nothing is further from the truth, the problems with your clothes are almost always seen as problems with you--your clothes may be too big, but you'll look too small.

When you're out shopping for a new shirt or blazer, the first areas to check for good fit are the shoulders (yoke) and chest. On a man's garment, many things can be altered by a skilled tailor but the yoke and the chest shape the item and usually can't be changed. There is often an in-house ratio for the neck size to yoke and varies by brand. Be sure you can button the collar and still be able to slip two finger flush between your neck and the band.

For a shirt, good fit finds the seam attaching the sleeve to the body atop the outer point of your Acromion (see diagram). Likewise, a good check for blazers is to have a friend place their hands flat on the outside of your biceps and then move their hands up toward your shoulders. If, in this process, the shoulder padding of the blazer is lifted by their hands' motion, the coat is likely too big. In some modern ready-to-wear brands men are coaxed into buying clothes too small. If there is a noticeable dimple between the top of your bicep and the edge of the shoulder padding, the coat is probably too small.

Another feature of good fit is a raised or higher arm hole. This refers to the size of the opening at the attachment of the sleeve to the body and shapes the size of the rest of the arm as well as the mobility of the jacket. Possibly contrary to intuition, a higher arm hole is more comfortable for most guys because it mirrors the body's natural shape and allows for a freedom of movement that does not require the rest of the coat to bend and contort whenever you move your arms.

Contour is an increasingly popular element in men's formalwear as Italian style shapes American fashion. A great coat helps you look fit...even when it's not exactly true. The contour at the natural waist line is part of the visual effect that helps you appear tall and strong. I also prefer a double vent on both my blazers and suits--this type of opening creates good contour from the front and side profiles that is maintained while walking and sitting whether the coat is worn open or buttoned.

Waist and rise of the pants should coordinate with the cut of the coat. If the blazer is slim, choosing baggy pants will make your torso look awkwardly small and vice-versa. The coat is, by far, the harder garment to fit. Once you find someone (preferably us) that can help you get into a good jacket, the pants really are a simple addition.

While there are many, many more details that factor into a good suit, these are some of the basics that will help you begin to see fit in a whole new light and hopefully prompt you to pay a little more attention in selecting your next suit.


Joshua Davis is a full time image and lifestyle coach helping clients take control of their image as a tool for good communication.

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Win a Free Closet Edit worth $300

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Win a Free Closet Edit worth $300

Congratulations to Jonathan M. for winning the Free Closet Edit Giveaway!

Contestants that did not win are eligible for a 10% discount on all services through the month of May!


Get ready for the warm weather with a free giveaway! Enter to win a Closet Edit worth $300!

We will send a personal stylist to your home who will help you sort through your clothes and give style tips on what to wear. All you have to do is sit back and enter the contest!


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Undershirt Comparison Sloane Men vs. Mr.Davis

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Undershirt Comparison Sloane Men vs. Mr.Davis

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We've talked a little bit in previous articles that skin-colored undershirts, though not ground breaking for fashion, are relatively new to men's wear and a huge asset to the business wardrobe. Normal t-shirts are uncomfortable under well tailored dress shirts and cause unsightly shadows under white buttons-up around the collar and bicep. To our salvation emerged Mr. Davis (no relation to me) and Sloane Men undershirts. We reached out to both companies and have tested their shirts extensively over the past few months so I present to you our findings. Both companies provided free samples in each size and color for an even analysis.

Mr. Davis - I'm a big fan of bamboo and viscose in general because the fabric is breathable, soft and long-lasting. In terms of cost-per-wear bamboo goes the distance and is a great investment. When I first put this shirt on I was very excited about the look and fit...my issues began after I was fully dressed and had left my house (and my ability to ditch the shirt). The biggest problem is the raglan sleeve construction. Note how the Mr. Davis shirt does not have a shoulder seam but rather has an extended portion of the sleeve that attaches near the collar, running the length of the shoulder and the down the arm. Initially I was pretty exceited about it as I expected it to look smoother under my dress shirt...while in reality it caused the undershirt sleeve to perpetually slide up and into by armpit. I felt like I was fighting with the shirt all day long. No matter how much I pulled the sleeves down they inevitably encroached on my comfort and I happily removed the shirt at the end of the day. This was not an isolated incident--I tried wearing the shirt on many occasions and in a couple different sizes with same result.

Sloane Men - I've long been a proponent of modal fabric for undergarments of all kinds. It is softer and lighter than viscose and a magical experience in comfort. The only problem with modal is its longevity; I've yet to see a modal shirt that retains its visual integrity regardless of the manufacturer past 4 or 5 washes. Moving beyond the fabric choice this is the single most comfortable shirt I own. The construction opposes the Mr. Davis with a "set in" sleeve, which is the construction you are most familiar with in your standard shoulder seam shirt. The sleeves are intentionally long enough to prevent them from riding up and the hem is long enough to stay tucked in. I also enjoy having three color options for me and my clients. Being blessed with pasty white Russian/Irish skin I have to wear the "sand" color to fully utilize the invisible benefits...the "scotch" shows a little too much. 


Analysis - I highly prefer the Sloane Men over the Mr. Davis undershirt. In terms of comfort and actually being "invisible" under a white dress shirt, Sloane Men seals the deal. I almost always disagree with one-size-fits-all type products and I certainly think Mr. Davis is underserving a large portion of their clientele, namely their black or African-Amerian buyer. However, in term of quality and longevity I think Mr. Davis is spot on with their use of bamboo. The modal alternative is luxurious but a bit of indulgence if you're counting your dollars.


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How to Hang a Sweater

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How to Hang a Sweater

It's almost time to start packing away your winter clothes until the next snowpocalypse. If you have a section in your closet for winter wear, use this guide to hang your sweaters and avoid the dreaded shoulder bumps that just make you look ridiculous. 

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