GQ (November) Cliff Notes – 10 Takeaways

Since 1958, Gentlemen’s Quarterly has been the Style Bible for men (Re-branded as GQ in 1967). The cover has been adorned by a who’s who of style and culture, including Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, JFK, Denzel Washington, and Paul Newman. Tom Cruise has covered the mag 7 times. Though a men’s style magazine, pretty ladies are no strangers to the cover, from Barbara Streisand and Julia Roberts to Jennifer Aniston to Tyra Banks. See the entire Cover Portfolio here.

Beyond the cover one can find a plethora of style inspiration, and interesting stories.  But herein can lie the problem. Coming in at over 200 pages per issue, combing through it all (and retaining something) can be a daunting task.  Not to mention the ads (the most recent issue boasts its first article on page 69). So we’re here to help, in a new monthly installment called GQ Cliff Notes. We will scour the mag in all its glory, and give you a condensed list of 10 takeaways, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

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November 2013 (Michael Fassbender):

1. Green is the color of the season. Think dark (Hunter or Emerald) to make your neutral grays, whites, and blacks pop.

1382541230648_green-style-012. Tie Bars are the accessory of the moment (We’ve been telling you this for months. Maybe you’ll listen now that GQ is telling you the same thing). It’s a quick and affordable way to step up your Suit and Tie game.

3. Its a lot easier than you realize to hire a hitman. And a lot less expensive. But be careful, apparently the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives employs an army of undercovers.

4. Tom Ford can turn just about any bloke into the best looking man in the room. (All it takes is a complete makeover that would cost a few grand). And he refuses to button the top 3 buttons of any shirt.

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5. The Oscars may get racially flipped this year, with no less than 5 worthy African-Americans worthy of the statue. (Michael B Jordan in Fruitvale Station, Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave, Idris Elba in Mandela, Isaiah Washington in Blue Caprice, and Forest Whitaker in Lee Daniels’ The Butler)

6. Harrison Ford is a cranky old man. So is Keith Olbermann.

7. Adele Exarchopoulos is a smokeshow (She’s the star of “Blue is the Warmest Color,” a French movie with a 10-minute lesbian scene).

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8. But she still doesn’t hold a candle to Emily Ratajkowski (of “Blurred Lines” fame).

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9. Quitting your job and being a SAHD (Stay At Home Dad) actually seems like a decent way to go.

10. Michael Fassbender is way cooler than you. Heck, he’s probably already been with #s 7 and 8 above.

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So there you have it. Everything you need to know from the latest edition of GQ. And you didn’t even have to pretend to not see all those cardboard subscription slips fall onto the floor.

 

A Gentleman’s Partnership

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We like accessories.  Nay. We love accessories.  They can completely overhaul an outfit, bringing it from “nice” to “epic.”  However, like a quarterback surrounded with no weapons (NY Jets, anyone?), nice accessories can be wasted if the rest of the outfit is just blah.

So we’re here to get you the whole kit and caboodle (had to check our spelling on that one). We’ve mentioned before how custom suiting options have become much more affordable (“A Custom Suit For Everyone”). You may have noticed that our top pick, for both quality and customer service, was Michael Andrews Bespoke, located on Great Jones St. in NYC (with a 2nd location in Washington, DC). If you haven’t yet had the pleasure, this picture of the team sums up the ambiance.

Bar Shot

We encourage you to stop by, have one of the lovely ladies pour you a single malt, and have one of their impeccably dressed salespersons help you navigate the world of style, fabric, and patterns.  We have previously worked with, and can give 100% approval rates to Alex and Casey. Now that fall is upon us, perhaps you’ll opt for a tweed blazer, or a made-for-you camel overcoat. As a bonus, we’re hooking every first-time suit purchaser with a free Platinum Membership to FreshNeck. See what that gets you here.

To book your appointment, visit their website, or give ‘em a call at 866-491-1772.

Shirt/Tie Combos – Part 1

“We all get dressed the same way. One leg at a time.”

While true to a certain extent, we all have our own, unique routine for selecting an outfit each and every morning.  I know many guys who start with a suit, and build from there, while others begin with their shirt.  I even know a fellow who builds his entire outfit around his colorful socks!  But one thing is for sure – for any working professional, the most important part of his outfit is his shirt/tie combination.

By now, you already know the value in a limitless Collection of ties, always giving you something “fresh” to wear with your rotation of suits. But what is a tie without an accompanying shirt?  To that extent, we have partnered with Alenford, an NYC-based maker of luxury Italian-made shirts, to bring you a 4-part series, helping you match different shirts (Solids, Stripes, Checks, Plaids) with your ties.  We’ll give some basic tips, as well as some for those willing to take some risks.

Part 1 – Solids

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Solid shirts provide a blank canvas from which you can go in a variety of directions.  It is the easiest to pair, as you can go with a solid or patterned tie, in a variety of colors. For beginners, find a tie that has the shirt’s color as its secondary, or accent, color.

City White Solid

The White Shirt. You can practically match any tie with it and your only consideration is how loud or somber you want your tie to be based on the suit-wearing occasion. Our opinion? This is your best change to wear that BOLD tie staring at you in the closet, such as this or this.

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The Pink Shirt. It is often said that “Real Men Wear Pink.” It’s a great way to break the monotony of white and blue, while still giving you many pairing options. You can either utilize the pink by pairing with a tie with pink accents, or use a complimentary color like gray, brown, or navy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is part 1 of a 4-part series highlighting ways to match your FreshNeck tie with your Alenford shirt.  FreshNeck members can enjoy a 20% discount off an Alenford shirt with the code “FRESH20″ (cap sensitive).

Look out for the remaining 3 parts, which will explore combinations using striped, checkered, and plaid shirts.

And remember, if you are looking for something a little more personal, our stylists are standing by to help you. Just shoot them an email at stylist@freshneck.com.

 

For more information on Alenford, please visit their e-commerce website at ww.alenford.com or schedule an appointment for a personal fitting with the Style Expert Luigi Leonardi by contacting him at Luigi.Leonardi@alenford.com.

Blogs We Love (other than ours!)

There is inspiration everywhere.  Unfortunately, this means there is also a ton of “noise” out there as well.  With the extremely low barriers to entry to blogging (read: a working internet connection and a camera phone), everyone and their mothers is giving it a go.

Allow us to do the dirty work.  We’ve spent hours and hours (lattes and lattes) digging through the thousands of men’s fashion blogs, and are giving you some of our favorites.

1. Dappered (dappered.com)

Dappered Vest

While many blogs tout the “high fashion for less”, perhaps none do it better (or funnier) than Joe. He has great style, and is honest and up front with his reviews.  He also caters to the “everyman,” ignoring ridiculous runway fashion. Great place to check out sales. Oh, and he’s recently dedicated some ad space on his site to showing really cool artwork.

2. The Style Blogger (tsbmen.com)

The Style Blogger

A former Esquire “Best Dressed Real Man In America”, Dan Trepanier now runs a team of four dedicated to pushing the boundaries of online menswear content. While styling great outfits of themselves and others, they also provide outstanding content, giving men the know-how to put great outfits together themselves. As a bonus, they’ve developed the Style Guide, which lets you input variables such as occasion and weather, and it spits out outfit inspiration (similar to Urban Daddy’s “The Next Move”).

3. Style Girlfriend (stylegirlfriend.com)

Style Girlfriend

Let’s face it – men dress up for a few reasons: to express their personality, to feel good about themselves, to impress at work, etc.  But in reality, much of this is really to attract and impress the fairer sex. So it only makes sense that we should take some of our style advice from “the other team.” Enter Megan Collins, who dishes out advice to make “fashion easier for guys.” And she’s not a “I’m a girl and I’m going to tell you how to dress” type, but more of the “we’d have a blast drinking beers and I’m gonna help you score” type a lady.  She seems to stick mostly to basics, like “wear jeans that fit,” and “how to layer effectively,”  but don’t underestimate how many guys really need such advice.  She’s recently begun a video series, and will even hit up non-fashion topics like fitness and traveling.

4. Menswear Dog (mensweardog.tumblr.com)

Menswear Dog

We love fashion. We love dogs.  We REALLY love dogs that love fashion.  Menswear Dog is a 4-year-old Shiba Inu with a panache for all things style.  He may also have a man-crush on Ryan Gosling (but who of us don’t?). After already collaborating with the likes of Allen Edmonds and The Tie Bar, this old dog surely has some new tricks up his sleeve.

What about you? Where do you get your daily inspiration? Let us know in the comments below.

Staff Picks: Fall Preview

We know that looking through over 1500 ties, bow ties, pocket squares, and cufflinks can be a daunting (but fun) task, so every once in a while we like to highlight a few of our personal favorites.

September 22nd is the first official day of Fall, so it’s getting to be the time to put away those linens and seersuckers, and opt for something a bit heavier (think wool).  And those summer pastels should be replaced with burgundy (the hottest color of the upcoming season), navy, emerald green, and other autumnal colors.

Fortunately, with FreshNeck, it won’t cost you anything to make the seasonal switch:

Isaia wool/silk 7-fold brown tie.

Isaia wool/silk 7-fold brown tie.

Canali wool/silk blend navy and gray tie.

Canali wool/silk blend navy and gray tie.

 

Everett reversible wool/silk bow tie.

Everett reversible wool/silk bow tie.

Armstrong & Wilson plaid cashmere pocket square, with pink trim.

Armstrong & Wilson plaid cashmere pocket square, with pink trim.

 

Your Own Personal Stylist

Stylist

 

FreshNeck currently carries over 1500 unique items in its Collection, including ties, bow ties, pocket squares, cufflinks, and more. While it’s nice that you can find pretty much anything you’re looking (pink rhinoceroses, anybody?) , some men can’t handle this kind of information overload.

Well, today FreshNeck is launching it’s Personal Stylist program, where you can interact with a style expert to put the perfect outfit together.  Just shoot us an email at stylist@freshneck.com with as much information as possible.  Let us know what occasion your dressing for, what you had in mind, and anything else about you that may be relevant, such as height and weight.  Including images of the rest of your outfit always helps.

And don’t worry, our advice is not just limited to our products, but anything menswear related!

Step-Up to Seven-Fold Ties

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Grass-fed Beef.  180 thread-count sheets. Fully canvassed blazers. Slow churned ice-cream.  Steel-cut oats. All cost more, and represent the highest quality of their type, but many don’t even know what separates them from the ordinary.

Enter Seven-Fold Ties, an historic symbol of luxury.  It’s been called the Rolls Royce of neckwear.  But why?  Is a seven-fold tie really a “better” tie?  The answer – Yes. And here’s why:

What Is A 7-Fold Tie?

The term 7-fold refers to how the necktie is constructed.  Instead of sewing an inlay into the tie for thickness, the tie is made unlined out of a single piece of fabric (generally silk) that is folded 7 times.

So What?

While it is true that an onlooker cannot visibly decipher a 7-fold from a traditional 3-fold, the wearer can feel the difference, as a true 7-fold gives a thicker feel, incomparable drape, a larger looking tie knot, and a more hefty weight. It is generally thought that the added heft and vertical folds of the silk prevents twisting.

There is a reason most true 7-folds will run you $150-$300. It will take a full square meter of silk to craft one tie, along with many careful man-hours.

7-Fold Tips

– Like any other high-quality item, take care of your 7-fold ties, as they can last a lifetime.  This means carefully undoing the knot after a days use, and hanging it on a proper tie rack or rolling it for storage.

– Stick with a standard four-in-hand knot.  The added silk will already make a prominent knot, and using a 7-fold for a Windsor will make a huge knot suitable only for Italians or rappers married to Beyonce.

Feel The Difference

At FreshNeck, we strive to offer the best of the best, including 7-fold ties from a range of designers. Check out our selections from Sette (“Seven” in Italian), Kiton, Isaia, and others.

The entire 7-fold Collection can be found here.

Some of our favs:

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Tuxedo: Rent or Buy?

If your calendar looks anything like ours, you’ll be attending a wedding. Maybe you’ll attend as a guest, groomsman, or maybe you’re the lucky man getting hitched! Despite the excitement of weddings, what the hell are you supposed to wear? It’s time to answer the age old question:“To rent or buy a tux?”

RentOrBuy

Some of our favorite rental companies: The Black Tux or My Tuxedo Catalog

Affordable Custom Tuxedo to purchase: Black Lapel

And of course, whichever route you go for your tuxedo, get some stand-out formal accessories from FreshNeck.

Style Survival Guide: The Heatwave

 

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When the temperatures soar into the 90’s, us guys are screwed. While the ladies have it easy, in their summer dresses and tanks (we don’t mind), we suffer the heat with our long sleeves and pants. Knotting a tie and adding a blazer/jacket only makes matters worse.  Throw in a crowded subway ride and you have a recipe for disaster.  Nobody wants to be the guy showing up to the office covered in sweat.

With August near, the hot and humid days are only getting worse. Here are a few tips to keep you feeling cool, without sacrificing style.

FABRIC

While your wool blend may get you through three seasons, cotton and linen rule the day for summer suits. They are the perfect lightweight summer fabrics with a bonus – it draws attention to your shoulders to highlight those long hours at the gym. However, keep in mind linen’s tendency to wrinkle. J. Crew and Bonobos both offer reasonable options in a variety of colors.

As for summer shirts, our favorite fabrics are poplin, zephyr, and linen. For a detailed discussion of summer shirting fabrics, check out our friends over at Alenford.

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And of course, we can’t leave out the accessories. A good rule of thumb is to match the material of your tie to your blazer. While Fashion 101 will tell you not to wear your thick wool tie, you’d be surprised at how much heat a standard silk tie can generate, especially if knotted tightly.  Instead, go with a lightweight slim cotton or linen (or derivatives like chambray and seersucker). One of the great benefits of being a member of FreshNeck is that you can properly play the seasons, without purchasing the items.  Get some fresh summer ties and pocket squares for the summer, and exchange them out for more traditional fabrics as fall rolls around.

Some brands to check out that specialize in lightweight fabrics: DiBi, Armstrong & Wilson, Breuer, and Everett.

COLOR

Dark colors trap the heat, while light colors let it pass through. Our favorite is a basic khaki suit. Versatile enough to dress up or down, lightweight chino fabric ensures nobody will see sweat. If you want to keep it formal, pair it with a white shirt and black tie, but we suggest bringing it casual with a pop of color. A trending alternative is the light gray suit, in cotton or linen.

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FIT

We are all for a tailored look, but summer suits should be cut slightly bigger to allow room to breathe.  Nobody wants to see that suit stuck to your inner thigh.  And you’ll be less inclined to sweat through the material.

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FOOTWEAR

Let’s stick with the same themes here.  Keep it light, both in weight, and in color.  Some caramel or light gray colored loafers work well.

And no need for socks.  You’d be amazed at how much letting your ankles breathe can do for the rest of your body.  If you tend to sweat from your feet (or get blisters) from going sockless, consider a loafer liner, which is basically just the bottom of a sock.  Hook & Albert makes some a great one in funky colors.

Sockless Loafers in Summer Still feeling helpless? If you tend to sweat like Patrick Ewing after 48 minutes against the Bulls, its handy to keep a second shirt (and some deodorant) at the office. Last resort? Keep your suit at the office and commute in gym shorts and sneakers – just make sure you get to work before your boss!

How do you stay cool and stylish in the summer? Leave a comment below!

A Tie for Any Occasion

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Neckwear can provide the ability for any man to elevate his appearance whether that’s to his boss, his friends or even his future wife. However, not just any tie will do. With today’s wide variety of menswear, it’s easy to tailor your style towards any event or circumstance you may find yourself in.

OFFICE

The office is all about showing off your confidence – without appearing arrogant. On your climb to the corner office, wear striped patterns while keeping in mind the power colors such as gold, blue and black when putting together your look. Stick with traditional silk and nothing slimmer than 3 inches.  Bring it all together with a tie bar.

We Recommend:

Silver – Ben Sherman, Antonio Ricci

Gold – Burberry, Brooks Brothers

Platinum - Armani Collezioni, Versace 

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DAY CASUAL

Get noticed for all the right reasons at your next brunch, day party or stroll around town. For a casual look, throw on a loosely knotted tie and roll up those sleeves to your collared shirt.  If you’re committed to fashion like us, think about skinny ties in solid colors and prints in non-traditional fabrics like linen and cotton.

We Recommend:

Silver –  DiBiEverett

Gold- Ivy Prepster, rag & bone

Platinum- Breuer, Bocara 

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NIGHT CASUAL 

Whether it’s a casual first date or a night on the town, neckwear shows an attention to detail as well as style and personality. Remember that night casual is different than office attire. Look for slim and dark styles or take chances in something velvet or leather. Feeling adventurous? Drop a pocket square in your jacket and try to layer with cardigans and vests.

We Recommend:

Silver - Everett

Gold - VJNY, Ted Baker 

Platinum - Armani 

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FORMAL 

Formal occasions are the time to look simple, yet classy and refined. You can never go wrong in black, but take the time to celebrate in something fresh like a bow tie or elegant cufflinks.

We Recommend:

Silver - True Forum

Gold - Vitaliano

Platinum - Codis Maya

55th Annual GRAMMY Awards

#NewCasual Transformation 2

The #NewCasual Transformation continues. We’ve got so much style we couldn’t pack it all into one post! Once again we join Saul Carrasco at Michael Andrews’ Bespoke in NYC. In this session, Saul demonstrates a classy yet casual look that can be worn day-to-day, at the office or out to lunch. Featuring one of FreshNeck’s exclusive ties from Michael Andrews’ Bespoke and tie bar from Dibi, Saul presents an affordable, comfortable style suitable for the most dapper men.

Saul Carrasco is a well-known writer in men’s fashion and style. To learn more about him and his work, be sure to visit his blog, Trend Styled. Also, don’t forget to pass by FreshNeck.com for all your dapper man needs