Man-Buns: Not for Everyone

My co-worker and I had a long discussion the other day about the man-bun and the inevitable accompanying beard. You see, one of my friends has had long hair for about the last four years and now has a rather excessive beard. It wasn’t a problem at first, but I’m afraid it has now gone on too long. Because, you see, this man-bun look that is rapidly gaining popularity only really works on the un-real.

On the fictional, the famous, the other-worldly.

In terms of male hair trends, long hair is hard to pull off and it is hard to maintain.

It shows grease (if you think greasy hair is good looking, you are looking at professionals who have been styled and primped, it doesn’t look that goo naturally) and doesn’t always fall the way you want it to and can generally be a mess.

But it can also look good.

man-bun

And that’s the tricky part because they look better a little messy. A little texture can go a long way when trying the man-bun, so it is best recommended for those with curly or wavy hair. Hozier’s hair is the perfect example. The natural wave and body looks good down and long or up.

Scruff also helps balance out the man-bun. Whether because there is a lot going on on top or because the bun is too slick, the scruff balances the face, while also adding a little ruggedness. But, do not let your facial hair go any farther than scruff or a really well trimmed beard. Any more and it veers into mountain man territory. (I know LumberSexual is a thing, but they are not the same thing, trust me, I’m a Westerner)

more man-buns

But here is what it ultimately boils down to, all of the men above are pretty darn attractive, but the vast majority are more attractive with shorter hair. That may be personal opinion, but like my co-worker and I said at the beginning, you pretty much have to be un-real to have a man-bun look good all the time. If you are going to go for it, just know it won’t always look great, that sometimes you will fight with it, and it will drive you nuts at some point. So choose wisely.

Spotlight: John and Hank Green

Hank and John Green

This one goes out to all the Nerdfighters.

For those of you who don’t know, John and Hank Green are brothers who, well, they do a lot. You’ve probably heard of John Green, or at least one of his books or the movies that have been based on his books, but John and Hank have also founded, produce(d), and host(ed) a large number of YouTube series.

This may not feel like a notable thing, but it really, really is. My personal favorite is VlogBrothers, their original channel, where they address whatever topics they want. But the best part about it is how they handle these topics – with thoughtful, objective, and open-minded consideration, and often humor.

Their unique outlooks and fields of choice are different, but complementary, so are their styles.

Hank Green keeps his look simple: graphic tees with messages or groups he cares about, plain button-ups and sweaters, and square, thick-rimmed glasses.

Nerdfighter Hank Green

He recently got a new haircut (you can see John have an existential crisis about it here). And although he previously had a pretty timeless haircut, the new one is a little trendier and it makes him look a little more polished.

Also I have a fondness for the blazer over graphic tee look, maybe just because it reminds me of House, but also it is a nice combination of adulthood and playfuness, which suits Hank.

John Green also keeps his looks fairly simple. He seems to favor collared shirts, often in the forms of polos and button-ups with blazers.

He’s also well known for his puff aka his hair, which can become very fluffy. But hey, who doesn’t want that kind of natural volume.

Nerdfighter John Green

This photo set also features Nat Wolff and the Yeti (John’s wife Sarah)! You should probably dress like Nat Wolff too. He’ll have his own post eventually.

John recently got new glasses. He had pretty traditional, simple frames, and just moved to an trendier, thicker-rimmed pair. Similarly to Hank’s haircut, John’s glasses just give him a more current look. Another trendy move of his is extra cool socks, usually from Happy Socks, which he has endorsed and we have talked about here.

You can also get your own DFTBA Records wardrobe, if you want to go full Nerdfighter!

Hank and John, more than just being good representatives of accomplishable style, are just good people. They regularly work to raise money and awareness for charities, encourage education, positivity, inclusivity, and thoughtfulness, and generally ‘decrease world suck.’ Whether you like their books and music, and whether you agree with all their ideas, or not, they are generally great examples of what a good man can be.

After watching VlogBrothers videos I almost always feel better about myself and like I should and want to do more. That is a magical combination, that is not easy to come by.

So, WAMSW readers, Don’t Forget to be Awesome.

Bomber Jackets

Bomber jackets, or flight jackets, got their start keeping fighter pilots warm during World War I, and with a heritage like that, they can’t be anything but cool.

They have, however, come a long way since then. They are now lighter weight, not the heavily insulated jackets of old, and more of a fashion piece than utilitarian. You can find more traditional looking ones, worn leather, with a looser shape, but generally the term “bomber jacket” has come to refer to most collarless jackets, with a loose shape (varsity jackets are similar).

bomber jacket

In recent years bombers have become the staple style of jacket for brighter colors and wilder patterns, but it works in almost any configuration. Solid colors, sleeves that are a different color, varsity stripes on the collar, it pretty much all works.

They also pair with almost all looks, from semi-formal to casual, so they can be thrown over most things.

bomber jackets

Summer is…

Summer is…Light

While we all love jewel tones and dark neutrals, something about summer demands lighter colors (and lighter weights). This is when you pull out the classic white tees and henleys, the linen button-ups, and the paler shorts and trousers.

Easy Breezy.

summertime lightness

Summer is…Cool Button-ups

When you need to be a little more professional or dressed up in the warmer months, nothing beats an open-collared button up. Checks and light solids are perfect for summer get-togethers, and even dressing up a casual pair of shorts.

While wearing tanks and tees around the house or pool is perfect, this is summer’s answer to business casual.

summertime

Summer is…fun

Take a risk, even if it is just throwing on a subtle print instead of a solid shirt. Try shorts that are a little shorter, or more colorful, or have a pattern. Hawaiian prints and florals are huge this year and can be manly and modern.

Not ready for a full commitment? Try taking your risk with swim trunks or sunglasses.

summertime fun

Summertime…the living is supposed to be easy, don’t make your clothes complicated.

A Blue Blooded Man

Blue Blood

Dressing rich comes from three basic things: rich colors, rich materials, and attitude. Crisp whites, smooth neutrals, and dark colors show sophistication and discerning taste – they are called jewel tones for a reason. Bright pastels might be preppy, but these colors have graduated.

A Blue Blooded Man

Color alone is not enough.

Although you may not know what your suit or the next guy’s jacket is made from, you can tell when something is cheap. There is nothing wrong with getting a bargain, but there is often a clear difference in the quality of materials. Thick wools, smooth silks, and the like are clearly a cut above. Layer these rich materials for even greater effect.

rich materials

“Sprezzatura,” meaning to have an air of studied nonchalance, is a quality often associated with ideal male attractiveness.

The essence of the blue-blood attitude is that of nonchalance, power, and a calm collectedness. This man doesn’t need to fight for anything, he already has it.

While no one like someone who is too arrogant, you have to have the confidence to pull off the richest clothes and look like you belong.

the right attitude

Need an example?

Spotlight: Brandon Flowers

The thing about Brandon Flowers is…he can do whatever he wants.

He may not be at the top of the Billboard charts every week, but pretty much everyone under a certain age can tell you their favorite Killer’s song (When You Were Young) or has been asked at some point if they are Human or Dancer.

He’s putting out his second solo album this year, but no one is worried because The Killers will never die. And we’ll take Flowers’ genius however we can get it.

If you’re thinking I’m crazy because you’ve never heard of this guy and/or questioning whether these songs really are genius, consider this excerpt from his Wikipedia bio: “Rufus Wainwright wrote a song about Flowers called “Tulsa” for his fifth album Release the Stars[12]Sir Elton John has listed Flowers as one of his top-five heroes while editing The Independents World Aids Day special edition.[13][14] U2‘s Bono described Flowers’ voice to The Globe and Mail saying, “We need him on the radio…His voice!”[15]

But now on to his clothes, where Flowers is nothing less than a chameleon. He’s The Heartbreaker, The Hipster, The Guy Next Door, and The Performer.

The Heartbreaker

In this case The Heartbreaker is the brooding, sensitive songwriter who is too emotionally distant to be fully present. Now, in reality, Brandon Flowers is a family man, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t look the part of The Heartbreaker. Dark and neutral basics make up the look, with a few distinct touches that show just how much better he is than everyone else.

Brandon Flowers - The Heartbreaker

The Hipster

We’ve already established that Brandon Flowers is cooler than you, or anyone else, so the hipster look comes pretty naturally. Flowers is a humble guy, but the suspenders, high-water pants, endless layers, and perfect scruff are all the hallmarks of a perfect hipster. This is arguably Flowers’ go to look.

Brandon Flowers - The Hipster

The Guy Next Door

Brandon Flowers makes no bones about the fact that this is what he is. He is a husband and a father, who happens to have a job he loves. He isn’t always dressed to perform for 90,000 people in Wembley Stadium. Sometimes everyone need to throw on a button-up and a jacket. Clearly some of his style crosses over, making the looks a little more exciting, but they are still pretty basic.

Brandon Flowers - The Guy Next Door

The Performer

Now, this is the Brandon Flowers that we probably first recognize. This is Brandon Flowers in eyeliner and feathers. And oh how he pulls it off. The Performer is brash and flamboyant, he is a god among men, and he can do no wrong. This is not an everyday look. This is for stadiums and music videos, but that doesn’t mean that us normal folk can’t appreciate it.

Brandon Flowers - The Performer

Fine Art

In order to make up for my long absence, and also because this is where my mind went, today’s post will be both long and a bit academically involved.

The history of art is marked by distinct styles, not unlike fashion, that take almost total control for awhile before being discarded in favor of the next trend. But the thing is, these periods of art live on, not only in our museums, but in the clothes we wear. Here are five distinct ones:

Gothic – High and Late Medieval Period

Gothic art and architecture is marked by intricate, layered designs, using flying buttresses and pointed arches to support high stone walls and ceilings. Gothic buildings often feel heavy, dark, and a little dangerous. The clothing counterpart is highly structural, layered, and voluminous (not the baggy pants and trench coats that sat in the hallways of your high school).

Wear: Long Wool Coats, Tailored Pants, Pointed Leather Shoes, Leather Driving Gloves

Gothic Period

Rococo – Late Baroque – 18th Century

Rococo took all the grandeur and glitz of the Baroque period and made it more playful. Using lighter colors, asymmetric designs, and fluid curves, Rococo was just as ornate as Baroque, just lighter. The clothing counterparts are light-weight, airy, pastel, and patterned.

Wear: Open Linen Shirts, Pastel Paisley, Gold

Rococo

Impressionism – 19th Century

Impressionism is one of those self-explanatory names, it is art that gives an impression. Rather than painting images with clear details, the Impressionists used pointillism or distinct  brush strokes to capture the essence of a design or image. The clothing counterparts are small prints, complimentary colors, layered patterns.

Wear: Patterned Jackets, Patterned Shirts and Ties, Blues and Purples

Impressionism

Folk Art – Varied

Folk art is, by some definitions, the opposite of “Fine Art”, but work with me on this one. Folk art is art from humble origins, often untrained, and completely based on the culture of the place of its origins. The clothing counterpart is cozy, chunky knits, and casual.

Wear: “Tribal” Prints, Shawl Collars, Sweaters with Jeans

Folk Art

Pop Art – 1950s

Pop Art challenges old artistic traditions by using pop culture and mass media images to create art. It is easily distinguished by the use of bright and neon colors, geometric shapes, and repetition. The clothing counterpart is bright, bold patterns, and sleek lines.

Wear: Bright Colors with Patterns, Converse All-Stars, Slim Silhouettes

Pop Art

Are there any other art movements you’d like to see as clothes?

A Little Party Never Killed Nobody

Here’s the thing about party/going out/club clothes, men really don’t have to do anything. At least not compared to what most girls do. As I was thinking about this post, I actually went back and flipped through Uni pictures to see what the guys were wearing when we went out. My findings? It’s pretty much regular stuff, maybe a little more exciting than usual, but not really.

As we’ve established and re-established on WAMSW, basic solids are hard to beat, but…this is a party, it’s time to take a risk or two.

If you’re not ready to jump in with two feet, go for a subtler look:

The Subtle Clubber

A plain or monochromatic tee will do you just fine. As will a button-up with the sleeves rolled and the buttons done. Add a basic jacket if you want another layer, but really these are solid, no-risk looks.

If you are looking to kick it up a notch:

Crash the Party

The easiest way to raise the stakes in your party-wear is with color and pattern. Clubs are dark, throw on the most florescent tank top you can find. Break out that shirt that looks like it should have come from the late 80s or early 90s, but that you really bought just last week.

If you aren’t sure what to try just check out the kings of party, Walk the Moon. These guys never slack on color, pattern, or body paint, no matter how unorthodox it seems. (I mean, I’m pretty sure that is a Where’s Waldo tank, so there’s that).

Speaking of…the pièce de résistance.

The real reason I wanted to write this post is quite simply this jacket:

A Little Party Never Killed Nobody

I mean wow.

This is what Nick Petricca wore when Walk The Moon performed on Jimmy Fallon recently and I love it. In some ways it is almost understated, because as fabulous as sequins are, they don’t actually scream as loud as neon colors can. It would be overkill if he’d tried to pair it with other loud pieces, but the monotone outfit balances it.

Basically, I wanted this jacket on my blog (and my body, it’s amazing) and it is the right way to take a risk.

Parties are an excuse to go a little wild, so do it.

Blast from the Past

The Inspiration 

“I look just like Buddy Holly, Oh-oh and you’re Mary Tyler Moore” -Weezer

buddyholly

Buddy Holly was a musician and songwriter who pioneered a lot of many of the hallmarks of modern rock and pop music. Although Holly died in 1959 at only 22, he remains immortalized in numerous songs, movies, musicals, and books about his music and influence. Critic Bruce Eder described him as “the single most influential creative force in early rock and roll.”

The Modern Translation

Modern Buddy Holly

Style-wise Buddy Holly is the perfect embodiment of the late-50s good-guy rocker. He’s clean cut, well-kept, and charmingly genuine looking.

Tailored suits with floppy bow ties, shawl-neck cardigans, button-ups and ties, and knitwear tees are classic callbacks, that have a new life in modern fashion. Thick-rimmed glasses paired with any of these looks are the real kicker.

John Mayer is known as almost anything but a “good-guy” rocker, but his outfit at the (otherwise dull) 2015 Grammy Awards invoked classic Holly. The blue jacket, glasses, well-coiffed hair, and pink guitar were down right swoon-worthy. Especially the pink guitar.

While John Mayer may have nailed the look this time, check out consistently Holly-esque looks on New Zealand musician Willy Moon.

The Inspiration

“‘Cause you got that James Dean daydream look in your eyes.” -Taylor Swift

James Dean

James Dean was an actor that turned into a bonafide icon. He is the poster child for teenage angst and rebelling without a cause. Like Holly, Dean died young in a tragic crash. He was only 24 in 1955 and, again like Holly, has been immortalized in film, biographies, and as the bad boy of everyone’s dreams.

The Modern Translation

Modern James Dean

James Dean is angst and apathy embodied. He’s a little bit dangerous, does what he wants, and is somehow above judgement and vain.

Moto-style black leather jackets, tight white t-shirts, slim black jeans, and sunglasses make up the modern James Dean look. Largely monochrome, or at least neutral, this guy would blend in if he didn’t exude so much cool. While James Dean’s hair was usually pretty done, as per the era, the modern version can either be a slick pompodour or disheveled and a little longer.

Jamie Campbell-Bower owns the pretty, bad boy that couldn’t care if his shirt has holes in it or not, but if you are looking for the whole James-Dean-reincarnated experience, check out Milo Ventimiglia as Jess Mariano in Gilmore Girls. He’s got the outfits, hair, and angst in droves.

Trend Watch: Australian Open

Tennis is one of the few professional sports that doesn’t have a set uniform. For this reason, tennis fans spend a lot of time judging people’s outfits…or at least my family does. But truly, the professional tennis world is a good place to spot upcoming trends in athletic wear.

I’ll admit that I haven’t been watching the Australian Open too carefully this time around (the 18 hour time difference makes it a real commitment), but I’ve definitely noticed some trends that I expect we will see in stores shortly.

#1) Nike is pushing neon pink and green combos. This look is prevalent in both the men’s and women’s draws. It’s bright and fun, and athletic clothes are the perfect place to play with brighter colors. Besides, who doesn’t love manly men unabashedly wear hot pink?

Pink and Green in the Australian Open

#2) Men’s shorts are getting shorter. We aren’t quite to 1980s levels of shortness yet (thank goodness), but hemlines are definitely creeping up. This might be more particular to sports like tennis, but I bet we generally see a decline in the bagginess of athletic shorts. (Spoiler alert: we’ve been headed this way at least since the World Cup)

Australian Open & World Cup 2014

#3) So is their hair. The men of the ATP cutting off their hair is less of a trend than slow conversion. Notable changes for he better: Federer, Nadal, and most recently Feliciano Lopez. Lopez is one of those guys that can and will be handsome no matter what, but his looks have made the move from Fabio to currently employed model. Notable changes for the eh: James Blake. Blake, now retired, had some of the most distinctive hair in the sport (natural dreads), shaving them off may have lost him some of his boyish charm, but it also may have made him more sophisticated (and let’s be honest, nothing could really get rid of the Blake charm). But really, long hair gets sweaty and that is not a good look.

Before and After: Lopez & Blake

#4) Non-athletic brands making athletic clothing. Thomas Berdych is wearing H&M. Djockovic and Nishikori have been wearing Uniqlo for at least a couple of years. And of course, Lacoste is the go to brand for walking the line between fashion and sports. Tired of what you see at the sporting goods store? Look outside the box.

Australian Open 2015

And because I can write/talk/think about tennis without writing/talking/thinking about Andy Roddick. Andy Roddick.