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A guide to help the average man... look less average

Filtering by Tag: fashion

A simpler kid

Mark Kwak

You know, when I was a kid, I wore strictly second-hand clothing. Goodwill, Salvation Army, Thriftway, you name it. Our family didn't have much money, and I was going to be growing out of my clothing anyway, so why bother with fashion? Personally, I think it was a good thing. Shopping that way helped me really appreciate buying a new shirt or pair of jeans when I got in high school. I hopefully plan to raise my future kids the same way.

That being said, there IS something awesome about kids who look as fashionable (if not more fashionable) as their adult counterparts. I came across a Buzzfeed article this week where a toddler's mother dresses her kid like a walking GQ advertisement. This kid looks amazing! Check out some of his pictures below. And follow him on Instagram if you want more:

Little guy's making me look like an incompetent dresser. Props to him and his mom for keeping up with the Instagram account. We all know it takes discipline to keep these things going :) Happy Friday folks.

 

Top 10 trendy staple pieces

Mark Kwak

A long time ago, I wrote down a list of what I thought was the man's "essential wardrobe." You see, the great thing about pieces on that list are that they are timeless in every way. You could have worn a navy blazer or pair of dark blue denim jeans the same way 15 years ago as you can today (albeit with a bit of a different fit). However, I will admit that it can be boring to wear the same "essential" clothing day in and day out. Maybe that's why there are trends coming in and out every five, no, two years.

Well, in honor of these trends, I'd like to show you my top 10 trendy staple items. These are pieces that could or could not be in style 15 years from now, but look damn good today:

1. Olive green field jacket : Seems every person I know (girls included) is wearing the olive green field jacket right now. For good reason too - it looks good with everything.

2. Gray sweatshirt : This rather simple piece has gone from lazy to stylish in only a couple years. Some reason I'm all for it.

3. Naval stripe shirt : Love this for layering purposes. Oh, and in my opinion, Saint-James does it best.

4. New Balance suede sneakers : New Balance hit a home run with these retro-styled shoes. Can't live without my pair.

5. Henley long sleeve shirt : I don't know if this counts as a trend, since henleys have been in forever, but I feel like I've been replacing all my normal tees with henleys for the past several years.

6. Denim jacket : I was against this trend for quite some time. Maybe because I used to associate denim jackets with bikers and bullies. Anyhow, my thoughts have clearly shifted. (Don't wear it like the guy below though, gotta have some contrast from the pants).

7. Pocket crew neck tee : Simple but stylish. Kind of like that gray sweatshirt above.

8. Braided belt : Leather or fabric, doesn't matter. Braided belts go amazing with any casual outfit.

9. Colorful socks : You all know how I feel about colorful socks. They've been in for a while now, but I still like 'em. Adds spice to any getup.

 

10. Varsity / baseball jacket : So random to me that a varsity-styled jacket has become trendy. I can't help but think they look awesome though.

 

So there you go, my top 10 trendy staples. If you're wearing one, two, or any combination of these pieces, I guarantee you'll get a compliment or two throughout the day from coworkers or friends. They'll all suddenly think you're in the know.

Go get 'em.

Roll 'em up

Mark Kwak

I mentioned this in my last post, but there's a menswear trend out there right now that I'm a big fan of. It's a small thing, but significant enough to at least call out. And that trend is: messily rolling up your sleeves or pant cuffs. Or probably more accurately, strategically rolling up your sleeves or pant cuffs in a way that it looks unintentional. This can apply to so many different clothing pieces as well- sweaters, jackets, chinos, jeans, etc.

Maybe it's because I'm not as tall, so rolling up my sweater cuffs or pants is something I would do anyway. Maybe it's because it looks kind of "I don't care-ish," which I'm a fan of. Either way, I think the trend is fun and easy to implement, and can possibly help make you look a bit more stylish.

To illustrate, here are some pictures from fashion brands/magazines across the web.

Screenshot 2013-10-09 10.04.06

Source: J.Crew

Not bad huh?

This little technique can help you look a bit more relaxed and casual. It also has the added benefit of exposing your ankles and wrists, which is helpful if you wear a watch (and/or bracelet), or want to show off some of that ankle. It's something I've been doing a lot more of recently, and would encourage you to as well.

Rapid Fire Questions #3

Mark Kwak

It's that time again. That time where I answer a bunch of random menswear-related questions as briefly as I can. Sorry for the brevity, but it's also kind of the point. Most of these are based on emails I get, but some of them are based on people just asking me from time to time in person.

Purely my opinions, but hey, why not put them out there. Here are my last two rapid fire question sessions: 1 , 2. Without further ado:

How many sunglasses do you own? Just 2.

No show socks or no socks? No show socks. Hygiene matters.

How do you organize your shoes? I have a shoerack on my door. It's this one.

J.Crew or Banana Republic? J.Crew, mainly for their partnerships.

Any celebrity's fashion you hate? Yes, Russell Westbrook.

Best inexpensive watch brand? Timex for quartz, perhaps Orient for automatic.

You like Fall fashion or Spring fashion? Definitely Fall. Way more interesting pieces.

Shoes or boots? Boots are great, but definitely shoes on this one. 

Most coveted watch? Patek Philippe Nautilus, too bad it's about a thousand times what I'm willing to pay at the moment. 

Any piece of clothing on your mind now? I need a pair of khaki shorts. It's 82 degrees in SF right now.

Best brand gone bad? Hugo Boss. Poor decision to outfit the Nazi Party. 

Argyle socks or striped socks? Striped- the more colors the better.

Favorite type of dress shoe? Brown calfskin wingtips.

What is this tech company that you work at? I don't know why I get so many emails about this one. I work at Google.

What's a good way to find out if your shirt sleeves are the right length? Check this out.

Wallet advice? Keep it minimal. Money clip, card holder, or small bifold. 

Alright fellas, there's my 3rd Rapid Fire. These are kind of fun actually. If you ever have questions, don't hesitate to ask! Here's my ask me page.

Till next time. Enjoy the weather out there if it's as nice as it is over here.

The art of getting dressed

Mark Kwak

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Before work, school, or just going out in public, we all stand in front of our closets and make a conscious decision on what we will be wearing for the rest of the day. This process fascinates me, as each and everyone of us is faced with the same dilemma, yet we all make different decisions based on our personalities or circumstances.

To some, getting dressed is merely a functional process of covering one’s body with clothing. To these people, it’s a matter of what can be reached the quickest, rather than what can look the best.

To others, it’s a ritual that must be painstakingly consistent, down to a T. Whether it be based on a rotation or season, these people need to be dressed a certain, unchangeable way, mainly to make sure they don’t break what’s working.

And of course there are people who think a bit more about what the occasions (and people) in front of them will look like, and try to dress accordingly. They want to portray themselves to the world in a certain light, and serve a tailored message to those who look at them.

I don't believe anyone is right or wrong in this matter; it’s all a matter of choice. However, let me tell you why I personally think the ritual of getting dressed properly in the morning actually matters.

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To me, getting dressed is more than just putting on clothing. It's a time when I get to decide what type of image I want to put in front of others. Without speaking a single word, I will already have portrayed a certain message, swagger, and lifestyle just from the outfit I put on.

If I'm wearing thick gold chains, baggy acid-wash jeans, and high-top Jordans, I'm clearly sending a different image for others to identify me by, than if I'm wearing a black suit and tie. And as you all probably know from personal experience, first impressions are incredibly important, almost unfairly so. So why wouldn't I want to carefully craft the message I send to others?

Now, people will argue that it doesn't matter what others think of you, or that people who judge you for your choice of your clothing are just plain superficial.

To some extent, I agree. We shouldn't take other peoples' opinions too seriously, and superficial judgement can be misleading or unfair. However, the truth is that we don't live in a world where other peoples' opinions don't matter at all. Your relationships, your decisions, and even your career are influenced by peoples' perception of you, and you have no way to avoid it. The moment you step out into the public, there are expectations of you, and if you want to gain respect or paint a favorable picture of yourself to others, you better make the right impression, which might include learning how to dress properly.

When you know the rules of dressing properly, and the types of clothing you need to attain, it will certainly pay off in the long run. The opposite sex- and same sex- may appreciate the effort, the level of respect you gain from the general public will likely increase, and you'll feel more confident about yourself, as your clothing will serve as an extension of you.

Also, whether we like it or not, people choose to interact with us differently based on our clothing. Walk into a luxury hotel with a baseball hat and baggy jeans; I guarantee the amount of service and attention you get will pale in comparison to when you walk into that same hotel with a sport coat. I've done these types of social experiments myself... and I can confirm it. I'm even thinking of making a video about this phenomenon.

So in all, I want to encourage you all to think about what you wear just a little bit more. Express, empower, and of course, be yourself through your clothing. Craft the message you want to send to others, and show them that you're willing to put in the effort.

By virtue of visiting a blog like mine, I'm confident you're already on your way there, but just in case, I thought I would reinforce the topic with this post. Of course in a billion words or more, in true Simpler Man fashion.

Rapid fire questions #2

Mark Kwak

Thought I'd bring up another round of rapid fire style questions. Compiled by my friends, answered by me. Again, these are just my personal preferences, so take 'em or leave 'em as you wish. So here we go:

To cuff or not to cuff pants?  Casual pants, yes. Dress pants, no.

Which is worse, pleats or four button suits? Four button suits.

Are you interested in women's fashion? Not particularly. A fashionable woman though... that's another story.

Favorite menswear blog recently? Menswear Dog.

Patterned or solid color shirts? Always solid first, patterned next.

Wide or slim ties? Slim. Though it generally depends on your lapel.

Favorite color of pants? Gray.

Lace up or loafer? Lace up all day.

Tie bars, worth it? Yes. They're only 15 bucks at Thetiebar.com.

Crazy patterned/colored socks... gimmick or here to stay?  I think the craziness will go down eventually, but it's just socks, not suits, so buy 'em while you can.

How do you layer if it's hot? Layer thin / breathable fabrics, and don't overdo it.

When is it douchey to wear a tie? When you wear one purely to outshine everyone else.

Most versatile color? Gray.

Least versatile color? Neon pink.

Best dressed celebrity? Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Should you own more brown or black dress shoes? Definitely brown.

Vans or Converse? Converse. Jack Purcells to be more specific.

Single or double monk shoes? I prefer double.

What fragrances do you own? YSL, Versace, Dior.

What's your favorite department store? Nordstrom for service, Barney's for selection.

Best place to buy really budget clothing? Uniqlo, Costco, and recently, JC Penney.

H&M or Forever 21? Neither.

There you go, my rapid fire for this week.  I want to elaborate on some of these points in more detail in future posts, so watch out for some of those.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think. Till next time fellas.

Ask me: Pitti Uomo

Mark Kwak

Courtesy: Complex Mag

What do you think of these outfits from Pitti Uomo? Seems a bit extravagant to me. - Ronald

For those of you who don't know what Pitti Uomo is, it is a menswear trade show that occurs in Florence, Italy twice a year. Some of the world's top designers and labels will converge at this location to show off their new collections for the season to come. It's also a time when people in the industry will wear the most fashion-forward stuff you'll ever see, and take pictures of each other out in the streets.

I personally think that the outfits people wear at Pitti can range from beautiful to laughable (or both). Some people put together combinations of clothing that are both innovative and inspirational to me. For example, I saw people at Pitti using colorful gloves as pocket squares for their outerwear. Fashionable and practical? Boy did I want to go out and put that in practice immediately. Also, some of the outfit color/pattern combos are beautifully executed, and I'm extremely jealous of the high quality garments being worn. Kiton, Isaia, Brunello Cucinelli, good lord.

At the same time though, I am completely turned off by the absurdity of what some of these people are wearing. Trendiness is off the charts at Pitti, and I feel like conservatism is sometimes laughed at.

Suit shorts? Of course, but only if it's above the thigh!

Jackets shrunken to toddler sizes? Hmm, shall we try baby sizes?

Women's hats and meggings? Maybe we should add a bow to our hair as well?

So I guess that's my long way of saying that the outfits at Pitti can range from ludicrous to fabulous, and most of what's being worn should be seen as fashion-forward and trendy as opposed to classic and timeless. Probably fun to look at and take small ideas from here and there, but not necessary to emulate in its entirety. Definitely not dogging on the event or the people who attend it, as I think events like this are necessary to move fashion forward, but you probably won't see me in some of the more outlandish Pitti-wear anytime soon.

So there you go, my thoughts on Pitti Uomo. Oh, and if you want a laugh, here's an excellent article about how to "fit in" at Pitti Uomo.