Spotlight: Jamie Dornan

When trying to decide on this month’s Spotlight, I flipped through my archives and saw quite a few of Mr. Jamie Dornan. The Irish actor and model is no stranger to well layered, quality clothes, so he is a perfect Spotlight.  And honestly I had to do it before 50 Shades of Grey came out, because, well, yeah.

Jamie Dornan will always be Graham/the Huntsman and Count Axel Fersen to me (and an unnervingly attractive serial killer to my sister-in-law). And while his attractiveness may be amplified by his delightful accent, this is a still photo appreciation of his style, so it isn’t quite as biased.

Let’s start with luxurious layers:

Jamie Dornan

There are a lot of great ways to layer clothes and they all amplify an outfit. Even if it is throwing a jacket or a sweater over a t-shirt, you already look more put together. Layers also allow you to mix patterns and colors to keep it visually interesting.

Recently my dad bought a button-down shirt that he decided was far to bright for him to wear, so he threw a sweater over it, and it was instantly toned down, but still retained some of the excitement.

That said, Jamie tends to stick to neutrals and primary colors.

Jamie Dornan - Irish Actor/Model

 

Mr. Dornan has also mastered the art of facial hair. Whether he is clean shaven or scruffy, it is always in an effort to emphasize his cheekbones. His beard is never too long or unkempt, and it tends to also hit just below his cheekbones, which is exactly where you want it.

As much as I don’t understand some of Jamie Dornan’s more recent  role selections, he clearly has a bright future in front of him in both film and fashion. His looks are classic and sexy and definitely ones to replicate.

Thoughts from Terminal E

So I am sitting at the airport right now and it truly is one of the best places to people watch. We can decide a lot about a person just by the way they carry themselves, what luggage they carry, and of course, how they dress.

And it reminds me again, what a difference the right clothes make.

In my immediate vision I can see 4 baseball caps, 2 fleece vests, 1 hoodie with the hood up, 1 set of dreadlocks and 1 pair of flip flops.

There is a guy sitting across from me whose clothes are about two sizes too big. They are nice enough clothes, business-wear, but they look like hand-me-downs from a much larger relative. He might as well be Harry Potter in Dudley’s clothes. He may be fine wearing this in a casual, small town, but it makes it difficult to take him seriously, partially because it makes him look like a kid.

He’d be much better off in something like one of these:

The Non-Hand-me-Down look

While these looks are technically more casual, because they have swapped slacks for jeans and shiny shoes for more worn, casual footwear, they are infinitely more put together. You are a slim man, sir, try a slim cut. Besides, you are traveling, I highly doubt that you will walk directly into a business meeting (it’s 8:30 pm and you are in an airport still).

Now on to those fleece vests and windbreakers. I like layering for travel as much as the next person, but come on guys. Your solid black polar-teck isn’t bad, and I’ll let that one slide, but why wear a fleece when you could wear a cardigan or sweater? I guarantee that a cardigan is actually more comfortable and makes you look less like an old golf pro in the pro shop.

Why not give one of these a try:

Better than a Fleece Vest

Much better, and still cozy.

Happy Travels.

Where to Find What to Wear for Less

We can go on and on about how wonderful the clothes and accessories from Burberry, J. Crew, and Ray Ban are, but designer clothing adds up fast.

I’ve always thought it was funny that fashion is aimed at the young, but the young usually can’t afford it. Luckily, there are some places that are changing that idea.

One of my favorite bargain fashion stores is H&M. Usually I see about one look in a store each time I go in, not so with H&M; there is no shortage of great clothes in H&M. And now that the stores are becoming even more widespread, these looks are even more accessible.

Here’s a sample of great H&M fare, all for under $40:

H&M looks for under $40

Also on my lists of favorites is Express. Express is usually a little more expensive than H&M, but it also tends to have quite a few work-ready looks for great prices.

Express can range from super casual to totally professional suits and button-ups. Also they have an incredible color selection.

This selection has a slightly higher price ceiling ($150) because of the reasonably priced leather jacket (everything else here is available for under $70):

Express looks for under $150

If you are looking for some statement pieces without breaking the bank, Urban Outfitters is worth checking out. They can be sort of hit or miss, because there is a fine line between stylishly worn-in and flat-out destroyed. While they are good for finding different pieces then you may find in a standard department store, be careful that you aren’t overpaying for a t-shirt either.

Here’s some quality piece for under $55:

Urban Outfitters looks for under $55

I’m also a big fan of Topman (the men’s version of Topshop), which is still establishing its presence in the US. I visited a few Topman shops when I live in England and they seemed like a uni student go to for trendy looks. They definitely have some clothes that fall into higher price ranges, but that allows for more variety.

Here are some of the more reasonably priced looks, all falling under $55:

Topman looks for under $55Always remember that price does not equal quality, but when you are looking for looks that cost less, check them out; make sure your new shirt won’t fall apart the first time you wear it or wash it.

These are just a few stores that I’ve noticed and their online looks didn’t fail to impress either. Let us know if there is anywhere you love to go for looks for less. There are always surprising finds in surprising stores, so keep your eyes pealed for reasonably-priced goodness.

This post was inspired by a comment, so let us know what you would like to see on WAMSW.

Books, Covers, and Judgment: A Defense of Some Superficiality

Although this blog is dedicated to menswear, this post is directed to anyone and everyone.

“Don’t judge a book by its cover” is a common idiom in English, which basically means to not judge someone or something by its appearance alone. While this is a nice idea, it is realistically flawed. Our final opinion of someone/thing should not, and will not, be ultimately superficial – humans are complex creatures and our opinions alter with every imperceptible stimuli – but our first opinion is necessarily superficial.

You cannot truly know the contents of a book unless you have read it. When you pick it up for the first time, you do so because a friend or review told you it was good, because the blurb on the dust jacket was intriguing, or because the cover caught your eye. 

We are no different. We should not be consumed by appearances, but we should also give ourselves the best chance possible. This is why we tend to put more time into getting ready before job interviews and dates. Why shouldn’t this carry over into the majority of our public lives? Putting in this effort makes us more confident, so why wouldn’t we do it all the time?

This applies to everyone, not just girls

This applies to everyone, not just girls

We should not become a Narcissus, but wasn’t part of his problem the fact that he did not understand how the world perceived him?

Never let anyone shame you for taking pride in how you look. Do not feel bad for taking extra time or money to make yourself feel more confident. Never let anyone shame you for your body shape. And never let anyone shame you for wanting to change your body shape. As long as you are acting in a mentally and physically healthy way, you are allowed to have opinions about your own looks. Just do it for you.

You can choose to not care about your appearance (although I doubt anyone is ever totally free of this concern, whether they realize it or not), but you are lying to yourself if you don’t admit that appearances count for something. Last year my dad and I heard a stat on a British news program that stated 60% of people judge others based on their looks. My father immediately said that only 60% were willing to admit it. We all do it, right or wrong.

Most importantly, we judge ourselves. Watch any episode of What Not to Wear. The people who belligerently state that they don’t care about fashion or how they look are infinitely more confident after learning how to properly dress their bodies. It isn’t superficial to take time for and pride in yourself.

Don’t believe me? Check out this great video from John Green.

Now go forth and conquer with your dazzling self-confidence!

Guide to Semi-Formal

I think we’ve all received an invitation that included a dress code and we honestly didn’t know what it meant. The rules for these seem so fluid, but at times they really aren’t, which makes the whole issue more stressful. Some are easy – the ultra formal white tie and formal black tie  have pretty clear rules – but the more common ones are generally more confusing.

This post is inspired by an event I’ve been planning for work that is “semi-formal,” which in my area could mean really anything. The western US is, generally speaking, a pretty casual place, so I did some research.

Searching for semi-formal menswear is basically like typing “clothes” into google. And all of the more specific rules I did find varied from site to site, so here is my synthesis of what you should wear to a semi-formal event.

Evening Events (after 6 pm)

evening semi formal

Do not wear a tux – that is black tie or formal – but you should wear a dark jacket. I would also lean toward dark slacks or a full suit. A tie is probably advisable, although it can be colorful or patterned. Shirts can also maybe be colored, but I would avoid anything too wild.

Be sure to take into account the type of event. Weddings should probably be more formal, whereas cocktail parties allow for a little more play.

Day Events (before 6 pm)

day semi formal

Day events have the same basic rules, although suits do not need to be dark. In fact, it is probably more appropriate to go with khaki/tan or grey (even navy is better than black for a day event). By their nature, day events tend to be a little more casual, so you could forgo the tie or play with colors, but again read the event.

An outdoor wedding is going to be more casual than an indoor, especially during the day. A garden party is usually more casual than a cocktail party (unless the former is with the queen).

In more casual places, like my hometown, you could probably really tone it down and no one would bat an eye, but here I defer to Oscar Wilde’s immortal words “You can never be overdressed or over-educated.”

Oscar Wilde on fashion

And if you are going to trust any author about fashion, let it be Mr. Wilde.

Spotlight: Kit Harington

Kit Harington

Game of Thrones favorite, Kit Harington is still fairly new to the professional acting scene, but you’d never know it with how prolific he has become. Famous for his character’s terrible luck and luscious dark curls, Kit Harington only seems to retain one of those qualities in his real life.

In the style world, Kit is the perfect example of using basic staples to create a complete wardrobe. He tends to wear dark neutrals, which means they can be combined in a ton of different ways. Building a wardrobe with basics and neutrals allows the greatest number of unique outfits with the least amount of individual pieces. Even his glasses are dark and classic.

kit harington

The basics that Kit embraces the most are: leather jackets, peacoats, henleys, button ups in solid and plaid, and well-fitting t-shirts. WAMSW has talked about all of these individually, and they are great together or separately. 

He also finds ways to dress up jeans, by choosing dark colors and pairing them with nice shirts. Dark wash, grey, or black jeans appear more like trousers, so they look more sophisticated.

kit harington

Kit’s hair is an interesting length, and could potentially be very awkward. He avoids this with his natural curly texture and by keeping it well kept up. His hair is shiny, not frizzy, and looks more disheveled than out of control (hint: this is the sweet zone). 

While rumor has it that Jon Snow knows nothing, it is clear Kit Harington has caught on to how to have a simple, but classic wardrobe that works in almost any setting.

Know Your Glasses: Clubmaster

Traditionally called Browline glasses, the Clubmaster is a term coined by Ray Ban in the 80s, but let’s be real, what Ray Ban says goes.

These glasses are distinctive for the top of the frame being distinctly heavier than the bottom and recall classic 50s and 60s looks. 

clubmaster

While the Clubmaster/Browline shape might be associated with the hipster look these days, these are really a classic shape that are really flattering. The “browline” creates a second browline which is very flattering on the face. (Don’t believe me? Just check out all those pictures of people without eyebrows)

These are also a shape that are great in both sunglasses and regular glasses. In fact the prescription version would be a nice compliment to your professor look.

classic browline 

Hello, Professor

While we don’t condone any inappropriate behavior, I think we can all admit that there is something sexy about the professorial look. You can psychoanalyze that all you want, but we think it’s the clothes.

The academic look is basically composed of layers. This makes it great for creating a wardrobe because you can mix and match and even choose how formal you want the outfit to be.

Here are your puzzle parts and pieces:

A variety of button-ups in various shades and patterns. The most classic professorial looks are white, oxford blue, and thin blues and white stripes. Must be slim cut.

The Professor

A few basic cardigans in neutral colors. While I’m all for a variety of cardigans, all you really need are a black, grey, and maybe taupe. These are great toppers for button ups, and can even be layered under other jackets.

Slim-cut pullover sweaters for the same type of layering as cardigans. These are also great in rich jewel tones like hunter green, maroon, and navy. For more info see WAMSW’s Sweaters.

A waistcoat or two that look like they belong to three-piece suits. Waistcoats need to fit properly (aka close to the body) and can easily veer into cheap and sketchy if you aren’t careful. If it comes with a suit, or looks like it does, it won’t be a shiny, tacky mess.

Textured blazers. We’ve already written about tweed, a classic professor look, but any noticeable texture looks like old world money and knowledge. These are great over any combination of the previous tops.

Academia looks good

Every neutral shade of slacks available. Personally, I prefer flat-front, as pleated can easily go 90s, but you should figure out what you like best. Flat-front might be more likely to suit slim men. You can also mix in some dark-wash jeans and still keep it pretty academic.

Be sure to have a selection of ties, pocket squares, and leather accessories on hand to top off your outfit. Also consider scarves and maybe suspenders. Thick rimmed, curved bottom glasses are like icing on the cake for a professorial look. 

Create any combo with these and top it off with a little scruff and you are ready to bestow wisdom from your leather armchair in the library.

 

Denim Jackets

I’ll be the first to admit that it took me awhile to get back on the denim jacket train after the early 2000s, but here I am. But let’s be real, they have gotten a lot classier.

We’ve already talked about double denim, and those rules still stand, so here I’ll talk about the jacket as a single item, rather than as part of an outfit.

As always, fit is key. Denim jackets have obvious seams, which are the perfect fit guides. The shoulder seams should sit exactly on the top of your shoulder. (see Matthew Lewis below)

denim jackets

It should fit smooth across the shoulders and with a little wiggle room in the waist.

When it comes to color you actually have a broader array of acceptable colors than you do with trousers. You should keep your pants dark, but your jacket can be a nice medium shade.  Even light jackets can be alright if they have a vintagey feel, but it is a little hipstery, so if that isn’t your scene, just beware.

not your 90s jean jacket

Lighter jackets should look lived in. And no matter what, avoid the acid wash.

Denim jackets can be really stiff, so make sure you find a comfortable one or prepare yourself to break it in for awhile. Denim jackets are casual, but go with almost anything.

LinkFest: Passing Things We Love on to You

We don’t do this often (because we want you to stay here, not go gallivanting around the web), but there is a lot of great stuff out there and we thought we’d share some of our favorites.

Buy some: Happy Socks comes on recommendation from author John Green. He can be seen wearing some green argyle gems on his interview with Stephen Colbert. The Swedish company provides a range of bright and colorful socks, which are on trend and just happy.

Happy Socks

Read up on: Esquire provides some info on avoid party fouls and make friends when partying with non-drinkers.

Get inspired by: Scruffy Men in Suits.  Aspire to be worthy of a feature on this Tumblr.

Check out: OneRepublic. I know you’ve probably heard of them, but I just saw them in concert and they are even better live. These men are crazy talented multi-instrumentalists and vocalists.

Fury

Get psyched for: Fury. I am so there for this movie. This looks to be an emotionally raw and realistic war movie full of impressive acting. Also the red carpet promises to be a fine display of menswear. Just don’t pull a Shia LaBeouf and where a paper bag in public.

Keep an eye out for: World Cup haircuts. While you’re watching the world’s favorite sport, take in some cutting edge and interesting hair styles.

Every man should know etiquette, music, film, books, current events, sports, etc. because what is better than a well-rounded man.