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

Filtering by Tag: sunglasses

Having just one accessory

Mark Kwak

I think too often, we approach accessories as items we can easily interchange. Magazines and fashion blogs are constantly pushing people to buy a variety of different accessories, just so they can wear one color or fabric on a given day, and something completely different the next day.

Think wristbands, or watches. Sunglasses and scarves. Changing between different types day by day.

Well today, I feel the need to say quite the opposite of all these magazines and fashion blogs. Personally, I'm a fan of a person who consistently wears the same accessories, and ultimately, through repetition, really makes them his own.

I'll give you an example. Ever since I was a little kid, my father wore the same wrist watch day in and day out. This accessory of his became a small, but tangible part of who he was to me. If I saw him without his watch anytime our family went out somewhere, something was definitely a little weird.

One of my roommates is another example. He wears one pair of sunglasses, and hasn't even thought about getting another. "I have one that looks and works well, what's the point of getting another one?" I kind of agree.

Anyhow, I think it's refreshing to see a person wear their tried and true accessories over and over again, without making any changes. As long as they're confidently worn, and out of your choice.

Here are the accessories I think make for good "one-only" pieces:

1. Sunglasses. When I think Tom Cruise, I think Ray-Ban aviator. Him wearing another pair (which I'm sure he does) just doesn't seem right.

2. Eyeglasses. One of my buddies alternates between two glasses. However, he used to wear just one type before. I like his image wearing just the original pair.

3. Watches. I personally have two watches I'd like to rotate between, but there's something really cool about someone who just wears one watch everyday. As long as it's relatively conservative in appearance, why not?

4. Wallet. Don't really see the point of alternating between a bunch of wallets since it's in your pocket most of the time.

5. Keychain. Same argument as wallet.

Sure, some people like to rotate between different types out of each of these accessories because it can be boring to have the same one all the time. I don't disagree with you! Nonetheless, I'm saying there is some virtue to just having one.

My suggestion is to get a worthwhile, high quality version of each of these accessories, and stick with just one of them. People will associate the accessory with you, and there will be a sentimental aspect to that said accessory over time.

Plus it makes your life simpler. You'll be a simpler man. Yep I went there.

 

Another quick point for buying more expensive sunglasses

Mark Kwak

I saw this off a bullet point on a "how to be a man" list published by Goldman Sachs Elevator, a twitter handle that satirically portrays the conversations that occur in a... well, Goldman Sachs elevator. Here it is: Buy expensive sunglasses. Superficial? Yes, but so are the women judging you. And it tells these women you appreciate nice things and are responsible enough not to lose them.

This quote reminds me a lot of my recent post about sunglasses, and why buying nicer sunglasses might be worth it. Perhaps the quote above might persuade you a bit more if my argument isn't enough, though it is a bit pompous. What else to expect from Goldman Sachs dudes, right?

 

A simple case for better sunglasses

Mark Kwak

On the left are my tried and true Oliver Peoples sunglasses; the one you've seen on this blog probably far too much. On the right is a pair of free sunglasses that I think I got from a swag day at my company. They look similar, but let me tell you why I think it's worth it to go with the sunglasses on the left over the ones on the right. DSC_0083

Okay, I'm going to throw a little bit of a curveball at you. Instead of focusing on style, quality, longevity, durability, and other very important benefits to having premium sunglasses, I'm going to focus instead on a reason that people often overlook when deciding between crappy sunglasses, and a pair of, let's say, Ray-Bans.

Generally when you pay the extra buck or two for sunglasses, and this doesn't have to be some outrageous amount (like $450 for Prada glasses), you will end up caring about your sunglasses exponentially more than if they were some cheap $15 glasses you found at a flea market in Brooklyn.

Before I started spending more than $25 for a pair of sunglasses, I probably replaced about 20-30 pairs, and each had a maximum lifespan of about 5-6 months. I may have left them on a table somewhere, or accidentally crushed them in my pocket, but in either case, I didn't really pay attention to the glasses because they were so cheap and replaceable.

Then I bought a pair of Ray-Ban wayfarers on sale for $75. The moment I got those, not only did the glasses look and feel much better than my previous pairs, but I also cared about them far more. I took care of them when I could, I made 100% sure not to lose them or put them in some compromising situation, and also incorporated them into my outfits much more thoughtfully. I would assume this all happened because psychologically, I just couldn't accept losing a pair of $75 Ray-Bans due to some in-the-moment stupidity on my part.

So my recommendation is to try a nice pair of sunglasses out sometime if you don't already own a pair. You'll find that the fear you have about losing them or crushing them and wasting your money will actually help you do just the opposite.

Style rules - part 2

Mark Kwak

Welcome to the second installment of simplerman's commentary on Ralph Lauren's Rules of Style. Gentlemen, it looks like today is all about accessories. Let's do this.

You know, it's very strange. I didn't use to be a fan of tie bars. I actually thought they gave off a bit of a pretentious look that I wasn't fond of. Well thank God, because the times have changed and I'm now very much on-board the tie bar train. I want to slap my old self for thinking the way I did.

Anyway, yes, definitely make sure your tie bar is shorter than the width of your tie, as otherwise, it can look ridiculous. I recommend having the tie bar hit at least the middle of the tie, but don't feel the need for it to extend all the way out and match your tie's full width. 1 and 1/2 inches is a good length I'd say. Also FYI, I only shop at one place for tie bars: it's The Tie Bar.

Sigh, I love watches so much. This particular accessory has a special place in my heart, and I promise to you that I'll be writing about them soon enough.

The interesting thing about this rule for me, is that I agree with it wholeheartedly, but think that you can make one exception. I'll get into that exception in just a second, but yes, you shouldn't be wearing digital watches to any formal event (or any event that isn't extremely casual, in my opinion). As a general rule, larger/thicker watches are for more casual events, and slimmer, smaller watches are for more formal events. The ideal dress watch is slim, simple, analog, on a black or brown leather band, and under 38/40mm in diameter. Casio G-Shocks should be left for going hunting or hiking, and blingy/oversized fashion watches should be left for... never.

So the exception I'm talking about is regarding the ability to use a nice diver watch (metal band, a bit thicker and bigger than a normal dress watch) in dressier situations. Big watch snobs will tell you that you should never do it, but I disagree. I think a nice diver watch, as long as it's not too thick or loud-colored, can look amazing underneath the cuff of a nice suit. Just my humble opinion.

So this rule is pretty self explanatory. Just like the rule about watches, this one is about wearing your accessories appropriately. Don't pair a business casual outfit with Nike Wrap Sunglasses. Save that for when you're wearing a track or wet suit. Trendy hipster glasses probably aren't the best fit with a semi-formal/formal outfit either. Use common sense on this one, and remember, the less flashy the eye/sunglasses, the more appropriate they probably are in most situations.

Leave loud colors and patterns for casual-wear, and stick with tortoise, black, or metal-colored frames for formal-wear. I recommend just buying a pair of Ray Ban Aviators or Wayfarers and calling it a day. Those classics work in basically all situations.

--

So there you have it- some rules to keep when wearing accessories. Basically the main takeaway is that you should consider how your accessories will work with the rest of your outfit. Matching/pairing appropriately will make a huge difference, and it's important to remember that.

Really quickly, I'm also going to say that I believe less is more in the case of men's accessories. It's definitely cool to "up the game" of your outfit with some nice accessories, but sometimes, I say it's okay to put down the pocket square, eyeglasses, diamond studs, and bracelets. Just put on a wristwatch and call it a day.