The Best Bad Boy Around

I have to admit, I’ve been meaning to write for some time, but I’ve been lacking inspiration. I really should have just looked in front of my face. With the new revival coming up and a coworker beginning her first viewing of the series, both of which spurred my own rewatch, I have had Gilmore Girls on the brain lately.

Now I know Gilmore Girls may not be terribly familiar to this audience, but here’s what you need to know for now. Jess is the Best.

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Jess, played by Milo Ventimiglia, is the quintessential intellectual bad boy; he’s got a troubled past, doesn’t like small talk, and is more likely to sass than not, but he also gets his life together in a big way. He’s the best bad boy around.

While Jess is immediately recognizable as the resident rebel with his James Dean glare, black leather jacket, and carefully coifed hair…the rest of his wardrobe is pretty…normal.

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There’s a lot of dark colors, ribbed sweaters, and so, so many layers. But even a yellow/gold coat can work for a bad boy with the right amount of snark and disregard. But he plays up his assets. The neutral colors don’t pull focus away from his face. Pushed up sleeves, tight-ish sweaters, and bulky watches draw attention to his arms.

His hair changes length through out the series, but always remains artfully disheveled. When it’s short, he uses product. When it’s long, he keeps it out of his face.

And while his jeans might be a little loose by modern trends, and some of his shirts scream mid-2000s, a lot of it is quality basics.

BestBadBoy2

Mimic Jess with hoodies under leather jackets, or maybe even different types of sweaters. Trade the classic mid-2000s look of a long-sleeved shirt under a short-sleeved shirt for a black or white v-neck.

Jess Mariano’s wardrobe matured as he did, and I can’t wait to see where his life and wardrobe have gone in the past eight years.

#JessistheBest #TeamJess

 

To nail the literary part of this intellectual bad boy’s look, keep an eye out for a literary gents post that I am desperately trying to complete.

As always, please send requests for things you’d like to see!

 

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The TV Myth

In honor of the Emmys, which I am watching right now, I’d like to take a moment to talk about the magic and myth of TV and movies.

I love movies and TV, I mean LOVE, but all media is partially to blame for the warped perceptions of body image that our society has. I could go on and on and make this a very serious discussion, but I’d mostly like to point out how ridiculous it can be.

I mean what does it say about us that we readily accept that these men are teenagers with no friends?

No one looks like this in high school

I mean, come on! And this is just a tiny example of the dozens and dozens of devastatingly handsome 20 to 30 year olds playing socially awkward high school students. 

Of course the myth can work in a slightly different way too. Rather than convincing us that teenagers have perfect skin and well-developed muscles, the myth can take a good looking man and totally hide that. I mean, we all remember being Neville Longbottomed by this guy:

Neville Longbottomed

But the real reason I wanted to write this post and the reason why this post is even relevant here is this guy:

tv myth

This is Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Declan Gormley in Mission Impossible III. Declan is a young agent who likes to live on the edge and not get tied down. I totally believe Meyers as that.

What I don’t believe is the last picture on the right. You are trying to tell me that you put that man in weirdly patterned shirt and a camera strap and suddenly no one pays any attention to him. No. Come on. I’ve been a tourist, and no matter how big the crowd, or how weird the shirt, I would definitely pick that guy out of a crowd. Just saying.

(Also those shirts are kind of in style now)

Frankly, TV and movies can teach us a lot about the human spirit, or at least keep us entertained, but neither are going to tell us the truth when it comes to appearance.

Doubt me?

This is Jim Rash’s twitter handle and bio:

Jim Rash His handle is “RashisTVUgly” which he explained in an interview. He and writing partner Nat Faxton had written a show with the idea that they might play the main characters, but they ended up in casting reads watching other actors. At one point Rash told the casting director that the actor they were watching was too good looking to play the everyday man he’d written. The casting director’s response was that the actor was “TV Ugly.”

If that isn’t a confidence booster, I don’t know what is. *sarcasm*

So while TV is great for seeing some of the latest styles, it is far from a clear reflection of the real world. Keep that in mind, find out what works for you, and don’t worry if you don’t look like the people you see on TV.

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.

Wrap it up

Isaac Lahey / Daniel Sharman

The weather around the US has been shockingly cold lately, and it’s that time of year in most of the Northern Hemisphere, so WAMSW is here to keep you warm. Specifically your neck.

Scarves are often seen as an accessory or maybe a bit feminine, but trust me, the shorter your hair, the more you need a scarf. This is definitely a wardrobe piece that changes by region–you are way more likely to see them in bigger cities or on the east coast of the US (than you would in the west) or Europe, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still embrace them.

There are four basic types of scarves, from thickest to thinnest: a thick knit (like a chunky sweater), a thin knit (like a lightweight sweater), a thin cotton/linen (thinner than a t-shirt, normally wider than the other types so it can be bunched), and a silk scarf.

4 types of scarvesNow, plain and simple, a silk scarf isn’t going to keep you warm. It is merely a statement piece. Silk is also not an easy fabric to take care of, so be prepared.

Cotton scarves are also more of an accessory,  but it will keep the wind off your neck, so they are perfect for crisp fall or spring days. It is probably easier to find more patterns in this weight and the silk and both are better if you don’t like too much bulk around your neck.

The only real difference between the different knit weights is how much bulk you end up with. So try them on and figure out what you’re comfortable with. These will keep you warm and cozy without having to resort to fleece.

Subtle Scarves

Pick a color and pattern that you can wear often and with a lot of outfits, especially if you don’t have a variety already in your possession. You can also tuck scarves into your coat, so that it doesn’t totally overwhelm you.

If you don’t think you are ready to take the scarf plunge, just make sure your coat has a high collar that you can turn up to add edge and wind protection to your outfit.

Disclaimer: All it takes is one scarf to make them your trademark, so be prepared for some attention. (i.e. Isaac “King of the Scarves” Lahey)

Defined by the scarf

Timeless

We talk a lot about trends on this blog, for obvious reasons, but more than any of that we wish for you the basics to make a timeless wardrobe. These are staples in men’s clothing that will likely never go out of style, at least not in our lifetimes.

Exhibits A-C:

Harrison, Liam, and Jesse

Exhibit A is a picture of Harrison Ford taken in 1980, that’s 33 years ago. Now let’s be honest, Indie could have worn anything at this age and we would love it. But if you didn’t know who he was or his age, this picture could very well have been taken recently. He’s wearing dark jeans, a navy blazer, and a light button-up. Add some scruff and sunglasses and you have a pretty much no fail outfit, no matter what decade.

Exhibit B is similarly classic, even though it is just from earlier this year. Liam Hemsworth is wearing a well-fitting, crisp white button-up, nice grey slacks, and a black belt. Basically if these items fit and look new/quality, this is a homerun every time.

Exhibit C is another variation of the laidback, but sophisticated. We have long supported the blazer – t-shirt combo here at WAMSW and Jesse Spencer provides a perfect example. Grey is classic and the shades are different enough that it doesn’t look awkward. The jacket also has a nice texture that adds to the overall quality of the look.

Now for Exhibits D-G, moving from dressier to casual:

Daniel, Eoin, Josh, and DylanExhibit D is Daniel Sharman in one of my favorite staples in a man’s wardrobe, the peacoat. Pretty much a good peacoat makes you instantly ten times hotter, like disorientingly so (I’ve done studies). To accompany this already classic piece, he has paired it with a white button-up and tie, black slacks or very dark jeans, nice brown leather shoes, and a smirk. Yes, brown and black can be worn together. Buy this outfit.

Exhibit E is a totally work ready outfit (Bonus: also good for family pictures!). Eoin Macken has layered a patterned button-up under a dark sweater. Pairing this with slacks and simple black shoes make this look perfect for a semi-dressed-up event, maybe even a holiday if your family dresses up for those. He also could have put the top combo with some nice jeans for a more casual look.

Exhibit F is a manly staple: the button-up plaid flannel. Here Josh Hutcherson has it half un-done with a white-tee underneath, but buttoning a couple more buttons and skipping the undershirt would also have been acceptable. Put with jeans and roll up the sleeves if not layering anything over the top. Ray Bans are another classic.

Exhibit G is our most casual of the post and perfect for days off. A well fitting t-shirt and khakis are comfy and relaxed. Long sleeves on the tee can add a little different flavor and jeans would be great with it too. The good fit keeps the look simple and not frumpy.

I’m willing to bet that you can find some variation of these looks anywhere in the last several decades and will keep seeing them for years to come. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t update your closet or try out some trends, but these are easy go-to’s for almost any day.

Aran Jumpers / Fisherman Sweaters

Depending where you are in the world, the seasons may be starting to change. Where I am, the weather has decided to fluctuate between terribly cold and surprisingly pleasant. It is really quite disorienting. But cooler weather does mean the reemergence of sweaters! A year ago (wow) Miss Rachel did a lovely post on sweaters and provided some wonderful basics, so I’ll focus on a specific type this time.

The Aran jumper, or more colloquially known as a fisherman sweater, hails from the Aran Islands off the coast of Ireland, hence the name. It is known for distinctive chunky knitting and patterns in the texture. Although traditionally made from untreated wool (aka not the comfiest) nowadays I’m sure you can pick up cozy ones from a lot of shops.

Aran jumpersThey are also traditionally a creamy beige, like the ones above, but can also be found in some great colors.

These sweaters are rugged; more working on the docks than fine cashmere, but can and should be worn everywhere. They are perfect for casual lounging and more dressy occasions. They can be cardigans or pull-overs and both are totally acceptable to us at WAMSW. Personally I prefer the ones with more of a cowl neck or shawl lapels because they look even cozier and more interesting than most sweaters.

There are tons of variations that may not fit the technical definition, but still have the feel of a fisherman sweater. And they are all great for layering or not. They are really a no-lose item of clothing.

Less traditional Aran sweaters

*Apparently particularly popular amongst British actors between the ages of 27 and 31.

Puberty: a PSA

We’ve been pretty busy lately, here at WAMSW, because of the impending school year, so here is a quick, lighthearted post to tide you over.

There has always been a lively discussion about child stars and how they grow up; some of these are so distinct that their names become inextricably tied to what they’ve done. But rather than all the negative examples that first come to mind, we here at WAMSW like to focus on the positive: Neville Longbottoming. Stephen Colbert puts it best:

Stephen Colbert and a Message of Hope

Matthew Lewis stared in all eight Harry Potter movies as the loveable, hopeless Neville Longbottom, but when I first saw pictures from the last premier I did not recognize him. I honestly had to look up which character he played. And believe me, I pride myself on knowing both actors and Harry Potter. Turns out I wasn’t alone in this confusion, J.K. herself was baffled by his transformation:

J.K. Rowling on Matthew LewisIt has been partially explained that, starting around the fourth movie, Lewis wore a fat suit, false teeth, too big shoes, and even devices to make his ears stick out. Also can we just say that his wool hat, leather jacket, stubble combo sounds wonderful. In general, all of the post-Potter photos of Lewis, show him dressed well in cardigans and henleys that make him look like a cool, grown man. That, my friends, is how you shed the image of a dorky child star.

His change has had such a huge effect that the internet has turned his character name into a verb, often applied to this photo of Hiccup from the cartoon How to Train Your Dragon and the upcoming sequel. “We’ve been Neville Longbottomed by a cartoon!”

Hiccup from How to Train Your DragonIt’s amazing what a little messier hair and switching from fur vests to leather armor can do for a man.

Now I’m sure many of you are thinking that that is all well and great, but you’re past puberty and maybe didn’t have such a revolutionary transformation. To you I say: all hope is not lost. I have one more story:

This is Daniel Sharman

17 year old DanielThis picture from the show “Judge John Deed”, shows Daniel at 17. Yes, that’s right 17, an age when most boys are nearing the end of puberty. He looks about 12 (aided in part by the fact that his suit is about three sizes too big).

Here’s Daniel again, this time at 27:

27 year old DanielA noticeable difference if I do say so myself.

Ironically, he now plays a 17 year old on Teen Wolf.

Besides growing into his tall frame and extremely angular face, he has also figured out how to style himself. By growing his hair a little longer, so that the curl is evident without overwhelming him, he balances his strong face and achieves an effortless dishevelment. He is also more age appropriately dressed in fitted shirts, slim trousers, and classic accessories (like that leather watch).

Simply put, there is always hope. Not all of us will be blessed with a Neville-like transformation, but you can help yourself by figuring out what styles of clothes and hair suit you best.

This and That

Let’s play a game of This and That, a game I’m inventing where I give you a picture or two and we talk about the differences and whether or not one is better.

Round 1: Let’s Start at the Top Fran and his lovely locks Okay, here we have two pictures of the lovely and ever talented Fran Kranz. In both pictures his hair is disheveled, but one is elegant and the other eccentric. Now the right picture is still charming in a quirky, Fran Kranz-ian way, but I think we can all agree that the left is more appropriate for most occasions. Really the left is a good demonstration of what I love in a hair style, long enough that it has texture without looking dirty or like a mad scientist.

Round 2: The Chambray Shirt

Chambray ShirtsThis pairing actually has no clear winner, it is just a question of location and appropriateness. The left has an inherent raw rock and roll feel to it, with skinny jeans, boots, and a white V-neck. It is a casual and confident look. The right is a more sophisticated look that may even be appropriate for more casual workplaces. By buttoning the shirt all the way, like one would a dress shirt, and pairing it with non-denim trousers it becomes a more polished look.

Round 3: The Waistcoat / Vest

Logan and Andy and VestsThis one is also less of a “better or worse” case and more of a “read the room” scenario. Logan Lerman’s (left) look is more formal with a tie and a tucked in shirt, while Andy Murray’s (right) is willfully casual with a slightly rumpled shirt. I would give some preference to Logan’s look because the fit is spot on and the outfit holds more visual interest with the stripes and noticeable buttons. Also this is apparently the standard “I’m wearing a vest” pose.

Round 4: Same Event, Different Take

Daniel and Tyler Go to a PartyAt a recent Comic Con connected event, Teen Wolf costars Daniel Sharman (left) and Tyler Posey (right) chose very different outfits. While both are casual, and as far as I’m aware, appropriate for said event, one is the clear winner in my (and WAMSW’s) book. Daniel’s simple grey button-up tucked into dark jeans and a leather belt is an understated classy. Posey’s t-shirt fits well, but it and his hat are inherently more casual, especially when bedecked in logos. If Daniel’s shirt looks inadequately tucked in, that’s just because he is exceedingly tall.

Round 5: Too Classy and Cool

Zac and John Look Better than YouPlain and simple, you should own both of these outfits; these men look incredible. Zac Efron (left) is dressing up his comfy airport look with a textured (possibly tweed) blazer and a sophisticated take on a duffel bag. John Krazinski (right) on the other hand is turning a crisp white shirt and well pressed trousers a little dangerous with a leather jacket and wayfarers. Well done, sirs, well done.

Final Round: The Classic WAMSW Focus on Fit

Fitty FitObserve. One is unnecessarily huge, the other fits. One Jacket nips in at the waist, one hangs like an old sack. One has legs, the others has tents that may contain legs. If this isn’t enough for you, look to Steve Carell’s makeover by Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid, Love and how much better he looks once he actually buys the right size suit.

How did you score in my made-up game? In this version, like Who’s Line is it Anyway, the points don’t really matter. But in real life:

My friend sent me this lovely graphic…or man’s, or your own….

The Eyebrows Have It

The eyes may be the window to the soul, but the eyebrows express a whole lot of their own emotion.  Even if you haven’t noticed, eyebrows are one of the key ways humans express and detect feelings, whether they be raised, furrowed, or doing the wave. So we should really take better care of them. Besides wouldn’t you want a nice frame for those windows?

Now I know that “metrosexual”, “plucking”, and “sculpted brows” maybe dirty words in the macho man world, but stick with me and I’ll show you the brighter side of fixing those brows.

Your number one, capital A, red-alert problem  is unibrows. Now we laugh and picture Groucho Marx, Frida Kahlo, or any number of cartoon characters, but this is a more realistic problem than you think. Just take a gander at this selection from Buzzfeed’s investigation of celebrity unibrows.

The Gallery of Unibrows

See what I mean? Not all of them are as drastic as Groucho or the member of R.E.M. with the large red arrow, but even young Brad Pitt has a weird little hair bridge above his nose. And trust me, that would never be allowed to happen to him nowadays. So you don’t want a girly grooming routine, that’s fair, but if you don’t take care of this, your girlfriend/wife/mother/considerate sister will shave it in your sleep.

The next huge, although less common problem is the over-tweezed brows. Girls seem to do this all the time and I just don’t understand how. It is not that difficult to stop while you’re ahead (I mean, full eyebrows are in right now). Look at this guide, demonstrated on a woman’s face, for your ideal eyebrow length range. Following that will help you avoid looking like the guy from the UK Apprentice that freaked my friends out so much we called him “The Eyebrow Guy”. Eyebrows should probably not be your defining feature. Also avoid going too thin while shaping, like Joey, by only plucking strays and/or only the lower side of the brow.

The Eyebrow Guy

Other than that, it’s pretty simple. Your brows should have some sort of angle or curve. They should be thick without being caterpillars (glasses can help break up overly heavy brows as well). Here are some nice examples (Dave Franco’s might be a little too heavy, but it is a distinctive look).

The Good Guys

Hey! Let us know what you would like to see more of on our blog. More spotlights? More casual clothes? More grooming? We’d love to know what you want to see!

-WAMSW