from the mouths of BABES : on fooling yourself

Illusion is the first of all pleasures. 

- Oscar Wilde
a man who knew a thing of two about the sartorial life.
and made a life out of illusion.


AMPERSANDS : damn opening ceremony and their boots

in the series of accesories that make life worth living,
the chukka boot as interpreted by opening ceremony.

i have a few pairs.  now i see this.

yes, it is simply black leather.

why do i find this insanely, impossibly, dirty sexy?


calvin klein home, home, on my range -

looks like calvin klein (the brand)
is getting into furniture.

here's hoping it's masculine, clean-lined, and done with luxurious materials.

you know, like gold leaf, leather, and walnut.



the sweatshirt.

please, try something without a college logo.

or, any logo.

think a color, or gray with an accent.

think slimmer fit, more like a sweater, more like a shirt,
and look to a higher gauge fabric than cotton,
something that might last you a few years.

then, let it mix with flannel pants,
and nothing else.

if you buy matching pants, you are reading the wrong blog.


taking the picture that's in your head -

how to take a good picture (of yourself):

1)  have a sister who modeled.  lauren was the girl who, in every single picture, was dazzling.  even though it was the eighties, her hair was high, and her dresses made lacroix look tame, she stood out.  she almost radiated.  i hated her.  she told me that all you had to do was throw your shoulders back, pivot your hips to camera, and smile, using your teeth.  i thought she was drinking.  it couldn't be THAT simple.  but, i tried it, cause i was gay, vain, and desperate to look good in a picture.  it didn't work.

so, when confronted, she told me about the secret.

2)  you have to practice.  every face is different, but mirrors are our friends.  eventually you'll see the angle, the smile, and the eyes that work.  so i did, and it got better.  but not perfect.  i kept practicing, and nothing improved much.  so i tackled her in the hall, held her down, and threatened to spit in her mouth, until she relented and told me:

3)  you have to fake it.  she said "look. you have to fake that you are happy.  that you are laughing.  and that's key, cause everyone looks better when they're laughing, or coming right into or out of a smile."

and she was right.

why this ramble?  cause men need to learn not just how to dress themselves,
but how to present themselves,
and how to make sure the world sees them.

cause a good portrait goes a long way to securing what you want these days . . .
it is a social-networked, blogged, im'd environment.

now go get a mirror.  and practice.

you want to be perfect, right?


ICONS OF STYLE : Paul Newman

let's face it.

the man had NO "style".

he just was.

and that's all you need. 
i actually think his calm confidence was best (stylistically) expressed
in shots with his life's love,
joanne woodward.

he was a man with no style.   but the confidence to pull it off.

DON'T try this at home.


uniform redux : the angelina example

this is what i was talking about.

rumor has it that angelina used to have it in her contract that she ONLY would wear black or white,
no matter the role or the event.

seems she's branched out a bit over the years (though knowing that and seeing her films, it seems pretty precise), but there is a definite limitation of silhouette, palette, and mood to her clothing.

a "uniform" if you will:

the deep v gown,
or strapless,
nothing fussy:

she loves a good trench coat:

VERY rarely (because even a uniform needs some flexibility),
a pop of color:

it doesn't hurt to pop this doll head on top of the simple dress code:


i love a man in a uniform -

who doesn't?

but i've recently been pondering the possibility of a "uniform" for day to day.
not having to go into an office,
where the "jeans and a blazer / pants and a tee" attitude made getting dressed pretty easy
(there is no uniform for creatives in my field, but there was always a desire on my part to dress it up a bit, not treat the position with any disrespect.)
has made my day to day
a bit of a dilemma.

my upstairs neighbor is a writer,
and laments the "sweatpant" issue
which i gradually began to understand.

when the days bleed a bit, it's far too easy for a guy to slide into sweats, a tee, anything that makes it easy.

but i found that made me depressed.

i LOVE clothes.

i have started mandating a dress up moment
every day.

and hence, the uniform idea.

i've spent the last few years limiting the palette i buy to colors that work for me,
that make me feel powerful.
it's a very navy and stone colored world.

now i've narrowed to shapes, pieces, labels even
that fit, marry, and make me feel
powerful, comfortable, adult.

does this constitute a uniform?  and if so, do other guys find themselves
not in a rut,
but in a refined form of presentation?


RUNWAY RUNDOWN : gilded age spring 09

i've told my friend todd a few times
this is the way a MAN dresses.

you know, if you're the guy who can pull off the
"handsome" not "cute" thing,
or the guy who can be called
or the guy who can legitimately claim to have smoked and ridden horses
and been on a billboard.

or if you want to BE that guy,
then gilded age is your label.

doesn't matter if a purse falls out of your mouth when you open it,
these clothes are gonna butch up your world, fast.

what you can't tell from the pictures
(though feel free to click on them and examine with fervor)
is the attention to detail in this line,
the fact that much of it is still woven on original 19th century looms in north carolina,
or the density of the fabric and unexpected weights and hand-feel in the mixing and layering.

this is a man's line,
that doesn't seem to borrow from anyone else's line,
and doesn't go nostalgic.


WHAT LANDIS WORE : stripes at night

meeting friends out for dinner,
another late september solution for night:

(dries van noten scarf, custom cashmere blazer from hong kong, acne jeans, bottega loafers)


STARTING FROM SCRATCH : the baseball jacket

i loves me some jocks.

but then, who doesn't?
so american, so rugged, so "letterman jacket/sock hop/virginity" laden.

and there's something great about having a classic baseball jacket
in your wardrobe.

mainly to appease me.

but when i say classic, i'm actually thinking something a little warped,
like this one:

mixed up,
but leather sleeved.

neutralized without the actual logos and letters
of a "borrower label"
(those who trade on nostalgia for credibility when there's a lack of design skill).

and with enough detail to keep the eye


i'm loving this with a white tee,
baggy khakis,
and a black wingtip, no socks.




the boys get pretty, too.


ok, pretty is as pretty poses.


WHAT LANDIS WORE : white shoe/blue glove

out to dinner with tim one night,
classic san fran weather.

cold enough for a cashmere sweater, but not a jacket.
enough wind to justify a hat, or a scarf, or a glove,
but not all three.

thanks to mr. raf simons,
and his cobalt calfskin gloves.


STARTING FROM SCRATCH : the trench coat

this new feature is going to give tim a heart attack.

let's play "if i had nothing,
what would i re-populate my wardrobe with
in order to be a more pulled together dresser",

for these posts, i'm not going to call out the designer or where to buy the items.

the point of the exercise is to LOOK at the items,
to LEARN why these are somewhat more special than the generic category they represent.

and then,
to go find your own version of them.

so, to begin,
every guy needs a trench coat.

look for one in a medium weight, nothing actually rubberized or lined,
you want multiple wear occasions from this piece.

keep the color neutral, and the silhouette lean.
lean is key to being more modern,
and it shouldn't be too long or too short.

in general, mid-thigh length is perfect,
or just below the knee.  not at.  not ankle.

this is not the matrix.

(do i need to say no leather?  no leather.)

and then, look for the tailoring twist.
a special lining.
an inverted pocket.
a trim.

because it needs to stay current,
by being different enough not to date.

now, go.