Don’t Do It: The Neckerchief.

Posted in Accessories, Style Theory, Tips.


Yes, it’s been awhile.

Call it a fashionable absence. Or lack of time and creativity (blegh).

But! I’m getting back into the swing of things.

I just came across this blog post by Kempt (great post, especially the last paragraph which sums up the motivation behind PG), in response to an article by Men’s Flair regarding Carey Grant and his love for a neckerchief in To Catch a Thief. This particular post really struck a cord, as I’ve been reading more and more about this bogus style phenomenon. Now, I’m not one to have style icons, but Carey Grant is about as close as it has come for me (him and Bond). However, this is a look that you just don’t want to duplicate.

Let me repeat. This look will not work for you.

It’s too effeminate. Lord, the name alone makes me cringe.

Yes, Italian men can pull it off. Yes, Italian men are consistently considered to be style gods. But, we’re American men. Our style is a no-nonsense blend of confidence and masculinity. The neckerchief does not fit this bill. All it does is introduce flair. Which, for most guys, isn’t a good thing. We don’t want flair in our outfits. We want style. We want masculinity. And we exude both of these things with a sense of controlled expression.

This isn’t to say you should be opposed to throwing in some punk into your outfit. I’m all for that. Nobody wants to look like a square. The difference is that the little dash of punk should still send the right message. Say it with your tie, color choice, socks, tshirt, or the fit of your clothes. Just don’t say it with a neckerchief.

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I’ve Gone Cardigan, and I’m Not Going Back.

Posted in Casual, Fall, Shirts.

I’ve finally taken the plunge and purchased my first (and second) cardigan. Sort of an odd thing to celebrate, but, hear me out. I know I’m not exactly blazing a style trail here, but I can’t believe it took me so long to pull the trigger.

With the new modern fit of cardigans, it has definitely jumped into cool territory from old-man-sweater region, provided you wear it correctly.

The key to pulling off the look, as with all tops, is proportion and keeping it slim. This is especially important for the cardigan, because if it doesn’t have a modern fit you’ll really look like a square. Make sure it’s lightweight, and slim fitting. The nature of the sweater (just meant for cooler weather) means you really should just have one button down/tshirt underneath it, so you don’t need a lot of give in the fit.

Since, this is more of a hip clothing item (weird, huh?), it’s especially important that the rest of your outfit is suitably modern. Otherwise you’ll look like you only have enough style to pay attention to the one piece. I wrote about this for the sportcoat and jeans post.

What’s Awesome About It

The look is very geek chic, which may or may not appeal to you, but based on anecdotal evidence girls totally dig the look. Just don’t forget the “chic” aspect.

Also, the look is killer, because it isn’t too stylistically advanced, but you’ll still immediately step out from the crowd.

How To Wear It

Wear it as you would a modern sportcoat. Over a patterned button down, tshirt, or throw on a tie with it. Just keep everything modern. Slim jeans, tie, and shirt.

You don’t have to button it all the time, since it looks equally cool unbuttoned. If you do button, remember as with a vest, do not button the last button.


Keep the colors neutral. You don’t need to make a statement with the color.

Not a bad price for a cashmere blend.

Photo credit: JCrew.

Keep the cardigan simple.

Photo credit: Gap.

I promise, if you wear it with the right top, you won’t look this hipster.

Photo credit: Urban Outfitters.

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Chinos, I’m Quitting You.

Posted in Casual, Pants, Style Theory.

My February Resolution? I’m done with chinos. I’ve said it before, but this time I mean it. I’m going to stop trying to make them look cool, and stop forcing myself into believing I can make them work. It’s just too hard.

I made the decision this morning as I was browsing through M+O’s new offering of chinos and almost got sucked in, again.

Chinos have to fit perfectly. Because of the heft of the fabric there is less room for error with chinos than with jeans. Too baggy and you look WAY slobby. They have to be perfectly slim fitting. But even when they fit perfectly, they still don’t look right. That’s why chinos are so evil.

The problem is that chinos are supposed to fill that weird gap between jeans and trousers. The only problem is that they do it so poorly, you might as well just opt for the other choices.

You always end up looking *too* preppy. Too shiny. While PG strives to look clean and put together, there’s always a hint of attitude thrown in. Even if it’s in the subtle pairing of colors or textures. With chinos, you don’t have that. There’s no grunge, no character. It’s like you stepped right out of a Gap ad. It’s too vanilla.

But, dear reader, you may say “wait, what about those great JCrew outfits in their catalogs?” Lies. All of them. They look fantastic on paper, but in practice it’s almost impossible to pull off without looking like you actually work at JCrew. It’s too contrived.

Chinos are not stylish.

Phew. There. I’ve said it.


Subtly Awesome – Interview Attire.

Posted in Dress, How To Dress For Work, Office Wear, Outfit Ideas, Suits.

Having just completed a couple of rounds of interviews, I thought I’d do a quick post on proper attire. Conventional wisdom here is to dress for one level above the job that you want. This can be tricky though, so really tailor it to the job/firm that you’re applying to.

This was brought up in the power jeans article, in that some companies actually frown on suiting up for an interview. In an article over at Wetfeet, the author actually had a pretty solid suggestion if it’s local: go stalker and camp out at the office to see what the majority of the workers there are wearing.

I won’t tackle the outliers, and will instead focus on the more typical business environment.

The general idea is to strike a balance between not looking like everybody else, but also not looking like you’re trying too hard. Your appearance undoubtedly plays a large role in you landing that job (or else a dress code wouldn’t even be in the equation), so showing that you possess some taste and the ability to not be a lemming could go far. The interviewer may not jot down “killer suit & tie combo”, but subconsciously you’ve already made an impression – everybody likes pretty things.

The Interview Suit

A few comments:

– Do not wear a black suit
– Steer clear from pinstripes (a subtle chalk-stripe is ok)
– Go for darker colors

This leaves you with a dark grey or charcoal grey suit. This is one place you do NOT want to stand out. Let the fit of your suit and the shirt & tie combo do the talking.

Speaking of your shirt and tie combination:

– Stray away from french cuff shirts; a button cuff is more subtle
– No contrast shirts with the white collars
– Color is fine (in fact encouraged), just nothing that is blindingly bright; as with tequila, moderation is key

Business Casual Interviews

The first interview was labeled as business casual, with suits being optional. But, knowing the culture and the reputation as a firm, there was no way I was going in sans-suit. But, the key is to not overdue it. There’s a reason they said business casual.

I knew the majority of guys would opt for khakis (pleated) and a white or blue shirt with a gold tie. Or, khakis, white or blue shirt, and blue blazer.

My thinking is that I wanted to distinguish myself from the crowd, but not in a “hey, look at me” sort of way. The idea is to look different, but in a good, and almost more importantly, appropriate way. So, I decided to go with a suit but ditch the tie, and pair it with a nice sweater with a button down underneath.

I opted for a dark charcoal modern suit from Banana. A reasonably priced suit with a nice modern fit (the tailor was amazed how well it fit off the rack). I next added a dark navy, fine merino wool sweater, over a grey button down. The look was modern, and put together.

Arriving at interview day I was surprised to see that 50% of us were in suits (it was a group session), while the rest were exactly how I had envisioned them.

If you don’t own an interview suit, then nice trousers and a tie will go a long way. Just avoid the standard khaki + white/blue shirt uniform. You want to show your prospective employers that you can take the rules they’ve given you and appropriately make it your own.

Business Formal

For round 2, the dress code was business formal. This means suit up. I had the same motivation here, stand out, but in a good way. I knew that the majority of guys would be in charcoal suits with either a blue or white shirt, and undoubtedly with a gold tie. There was no way I was going to look like a 60 year old Republican Senator. I’m young and cool, and this is a big f-ing deal, so I needed something suitably cool.

This was a tough selection for me, because I knew what I wanted but the stores didn’t have exactly it. I ended up settling on a purple and white micro-check shirt (subtle thin purple lines), with a point collar, and paired it with a thin beautiful royal purple tie. I recycled my grey suit from the first interview.

I haven’t touched on collar choices, but go with a point or a spread collar for an occasion like this. This means avoid the classic button down collar. Historically button-down collars are more for casual wear, but regardless it is visually more appealing to have a nice point collar.

Take home: when going with a suit, it’s OK to go with a nice pattern shirt. Pair it with a tie in the same color family and you’ve got a very sharp combination.

Remember, it is your goal to be attractive to the company. Both from an intellectual standpoint (which your resume already provided) and a physical standpoint (why it isn’t a phone interview). So, put some thought into what you’re putting on.

Oh, and the combination of the patterned shirt + solid tie looked awesome. Heading to the airport that afternoon the crosswalk dude (yes, it was a dude…bite me), and the metal detector lady both complimented me on how I looked. And if that’s not success, I don’t know what is.

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I’ll Take Potpourri for a 1000 – The Rest of the Gift Guide.

Posted in Accessories, Dating, Gifts, Houston, Tips.

As promised, here is the remainder of the gift guide. And not a moment too soon, with only 6 more shopping days left. So get on it fellas.

In honor of the lack of time, here are the remaining gift ideas, in easy-to-digest (unlike my 1/2 lbs burger I just hoovered) list format.

Techie/Design Gifts

– For the girl that loves design: give her the Adobe Creative Suite of software and a wireless mouse for her to play around on.

– I’m told that girls like gadgets too. Some ideas:
– New iPod or docks for her existing iPhone or iPod.
– A Kindle
– A new digital camera if she doesn’t have one or its old and outdated

– Girls are always trying to slim down what they carry when they go out. Here’s a cool iPhone sleeve that doubles as a small wallet:

Photo credit: Supermarket.

Photo credit: Supermarket.

– Seatbelt camera straps = totally cool.

Photo credit: Photojojo.

Photo credit: Photojojo.

– Field Notes makes some really cool pocket-sized notebooks. They make great stocking stuffers.

Photo credit: Field Notes.

Photo credit: Field Notes.

– Don’t know how practical this is since most people don’t have landlines, but it’s too cool not to post: a vintage rotary phone.

Photo credit: Rock Paper Scissors.

Photo credit: Rock Paper Scissors.

– Most chicks totally dig paper. Houston area store PH Design has this cool K.I.T (Keep In Touch) as well as custom stationary.

Photo credit: PH Design.

Photo credit: PH Design.

– I know this belongs in the accessory section, but I missed the boat on it. I guarantee you none of her girlfriends will have a purse like this:

Photo credit: Supermarket.

Photo credit: Supermarket.

– Give the gift of art: especially that from a local artist. Really avoid mass market art though. That means no Target, IKEA, or mall art stores.

The Others

– If she’s concerned with social responsibility (they donate a pair of shoes for those in need with every purchase).

Photo credit: Tom's Shoes.

Photo credit: Tom's Shoes.

– If she loves to read hunt down her favorite classic book in a limited edition.

– For the girl that likes to bake and/or cook (BTW – do any of these women still exist?):
– get a personalized recipe box with personalized recipe cards.
– some cool and colorful measuring cups and spoons.

Photo credit: Anthropologie.

Photo credit: Anthropologie.

– Or a really nice apron. Holy junk the one below is sexy.

Photo credit: Anthropologie.

Photo credit: Anthropologie.

– If she doesn’t have it already: the KitchenAid mixer is a must. Get it in a color other than white. At $300, this is one of the best prices you’ll see this go for.

Photo credit: Macy's.

Photo credit: Macy's.

– A subscription to magazines she likes. Tread carefully here: I’m told getting her a subscription to Shape isn’t going to go over well. Try things like: the Oprah Magazine, Rachel Ray, or Lucky (this is OK because it focuses on shopping, not on style).


– If money is tight for you, plan a whole day together where you don’t just sit at home; go to museums (which are usually free). Pretend y’all are a tourist for the day and explore the city as such.

– If she’s ok with not having an “actual” gift, give a donation in her name to a charity she would support. I’m not sure how this would go over with most girls, but the recommendation came from one so perhaps there’s something here. I’d be pissed if I got this as a gift. But, I’m a heartless, materialistic bastard.

– Most girls have a hobby, seek out something vintage. Photographer : vintage camera. Writer : vintage typewriter.

– Tickets to an upcoming concert, ballet, opera, musical, or symphony. It’s great because it shows promise for an upcoming date where they can get dressed up. Never underestimate the power of the opportunity to dress up for women. They live for it. A fancy date is like their own personal leading actress role, where all eyes are on her.

– For the women with kids, a simple break from the kids probably does wonders. It can be with you, or without. Try a spa, or something similarly relaxing (shooting range?).

– Girls really love having their hands and feet played with so why not give her a gift certificate for a manicure and pedicure (brass tacks, isn’t that what it is?). Since times are tough, she’ll appreciate the thought, especially if she’s been skimping on the guilty pleasure.


And….that’s all folks. I hope it’s been marginally helpful. Happy hunting…

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Stop the Presses – Superhero Underwear.

Posted in Accessories, Underwear.

A quick break from the Holiday Gift Guide posts, to bring you an all important message. A buddy informed me this weekend that Target is starting to carry Underoos again, but this time for adults. Excited as can be, I turned to the internets but alas couldn’t find anything on Target’s website.

BUT, I did find a shop on Amazon that sells officially licensed DC Comics character briefs. Now, I’m totally not a briefs man, but tighties that have Batman delivering a death blow on the buttocks? Come on. If that’s not awesomeness, I don’t know what is.