The Literary Gentleman

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I really enjoyed writing Fine Art, (which, wow, was already a full year ago) so I have been thinking about doing another. We’ll call this a spin-off.

As it turns out, matching style to literary eras, is a lot trickier than art. Art comes with colors and shapes and things you see in clothing. Literature…does not. So the resulting piece is a little bit about the style of the , a little bit about the style of the writing, and a little bit about the flavor of the authors…I hope.

The Lost Generation – World War I 

The most recent of the three eras I’m going to touch on, the Lost Generation is marked by notable figures like Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, and T.S. Eliot. The phrase supposedly comes from Gertrude Stein telling Hemingway the following, “That is what you are. That’s what you all are … all of you young people who served in the war. You are a lost generation.”

Wartime and the experiences there are fundamental to the Lost Generation aesthetic, as is the rejection of wealth. Think Great Gatsby – the moral, not the man.

Wear: Tight Short-Sleeved Button-ups, Suspenders, Khakis, Cuffed Jeans, and Coats with Sheepskin Collars.

Lit Gent

The Victorian Era – 1837-1901

Ah, the fin de siècle, what a wonderfully weird time in literature and history. Now, we often think of the Victorian Era as very buttoned-up, conservative, and proper, but oh hoho, is that ignoring so much of what was churning below. One of my favorite classes in Uni was called Fin de Siècle: Decadence and Degeneration. That should tell you something. While the visible culture was often quite proper, monsters, faeries, murderers, and debauchery were increasingly popular in books and entertainment.

Wear: Deep Blues and Purples, Crisp Button-ups, Tall-Collared Coats, Subtle Mixed Patterns

litgent

The Romantics – approx. 1770 – 1848

Right up front, we should address the fact that the Romantic Period is my favorite literary period, partly due to my overwhelming love for John Keats. (How many times can I legitimately mention Keats on a fashion blog? We shall see).

The Romantics are in part a rejection of the Industrial Revolution, embracing nature and individuality in a rapidly changing Europe. They were introspective, restless, and extremely emotive writers. They ranged from the elderly William Wordsworth to the, uh, lusty Lord Byron, and their works span a myriad of subjects.

The Romantic’s love of aesthetic and the marrying of awe and horror, results in some of the most purple and rich language and messages informed by true emotion first and foremost.

Wear: Floral Prints, Pastels, Overly-large Wool Coats, Rumpled Suits, Disheveled Hair, Layers

Lit Gent1

Spotlight: Dylan O’Brien

Mr. Dylan O'Brien

Whether you are anxiously awaiting season 5 of Teen Wolf or you’re hoping to find The Maze Runner under your Christmas tree, anyone who’s seen Dylan O’Brien knows that he is a rising star. If you just need proof check him out as *spoiler alert* Nogitsune-possessed Sitles on season 3B of Teen Wolf.

As confusing as Teen Wolf’s mythology can be at times, Dylan’s wardrobe is a study in simplicity. He is the perfect example of using basic pieces to create a complete and totally functional wardrobe. Dylan O'Brien

When it comes to casual clothes he sticks to t-shirts, baseball shirts, and casual button-ups. They are mostly neutral in color, but with various patterns. Plain black t-shirts look surprisingly sophisticated, especially when paired with dark, slim pants.

A similar theory is also applied whenever he wears sunglasses or glasses. They are solid, classic shapes. Black frames are distinctive and striking. In glasses, they play-up his geek-chic appeal; in sunglasses, they are old Hollywood cool. Dylan O'Brien Classic

Even his more dressed up looks are simple. A white shirt, dark slacks, with no tie is a classic and almost never the wrong choice. Same with a simple black leather jacket. Classics are classics for a reason.

Also, if nothing else, Dylan O’Brien proves that hair you could run your hands through is better than a buzzcut. If you’ve got the hair, flaunt it.

Dylan O'Brien Hair

Don’t believe this kid has power? Just remember that he was the 6th most reblogged actor on Tumblr in 2013, and that was before he starred in his own blockbuster.

Not Too Hot and Not Too Cold

There is no denying that fall is in full swing. Where I’m from, that means you need heaters on in the morning and evening, and maybe the air conditioning in the middle of the day. In fact, in a lot of places fall isn’t too hot or too cold, it is both.

That’s why fall fashion revolves around layers.

Aim for light layers, these will be more comfortable and look less bulky. A t-shirt and a light sweater fit nicely under a jacket, so does a button-up with or without the sweater. Combinations like this are a great way to adapt your outfit to different levels of dressiness, so chameleon-like, you can adapt to both situation and weather.

fall layers

 

There are a lot of old rules about what you can and cannot wear in fall, most of which don’t apply to the modern man, but there are some things that are quintessentially autumn. Warm colors like rust, reds, and maroons are cozy and especially great in sweaters and plaid flannel. Neutrals like khaki, olive/army green, rich browns, and denim are great for outerwear and go with almost anything.

Also don’t forget to pull out those worn leather boots.

the color of fall

Fall is also a great time to grow out your scruff a little. Don’t go full No-Shave November, but go ahead and keep your chin warm.

 

 

I’ve been feeling pretty uninspired lately (I blame my female-dominated work place), so if you have any themes or people you’d like to see more of on here, go ahead and leave a comment.

Sporty Chic

The weather’s getting warmer, which means I’ve seen a lot of basketball shorts. I get it, they are comfortable and keep you cool. However, they also look pretty lazy and immature. So let’s just agree up front to shelve the sport shorts unless you are a t home or actually exercising.

We have already posted about favorable alternatives for shorts, so I thought I’d take this in a bit of a different direction.

So, you are a sporty guy. You like being active and maybe support some teams. Here is how you can show that side of your personality without donning jerseys or logos.

Baseball Tees and Henleys

Baseball tees are a classic All-American look that reads young and active. They come in a wide range of color combinations and don’t need to be layered to look good.

Henleys have a similar vibe, although a little less casual. These are great go-to shirts that are manly, but also look polished. They tend to be dark or neutral colors in my experience.

Faux Letterman Jackets and Shorts

For colder weather, you could try a faux Letterman jacket, which, lucky for you, are very trendy right now. These are lighter weight and less logo-ed than your real jacket from high school. Similar styles can even be found in cardigans and variations on track jackets. Layer these with more sophisticated looks for a grown up version.

I’m also going to talk about the shorts in the picture above because they are basically the real man’s version of basketball shorts. These particular ones are from J. Crew. They are a lightweight cotton instead of fleece or some synthetic material (like most sweats and gym shorts are), which means they are still comfortable and cool without looking horrible. The nice slim fit looks polished, while the draw string keeps them casual.

Several of these looks come from Express and J. Crew’s current collections.

We are not asking you to ditch your comfort or your athletic look, we just would like you to step it up a notch.

Date Night: How to Dress to Impress

There are two places you really want to make a good first impression: a job interview and a first date. But while most job interviews have a similar dress code, dates area totally different ballgame.

There are all sorts of factors, like how well you already know your date, what you are planning on doing, where you are going, etc., and we will try to account for all these variables as well as we can.

However, it isn’t always a first date that requires impressing, especially since a certain holiday is fast approaching. Here are style tips for whatever your dating needs.

Let’s start on the more formal end:

a more formal date night

This date is to a nice restaurant or maybe a play or some other type of performance. You still want to look nice and dressed up, even though you aren’t at a black tie event (if you are check out Black Tie Done Right). Even the examples I’ve shown vary in formality, but notice they all have ties. Sweaters and leather jackets are a bit more casual than a suit jacket or blazer would be. Lighter colors also ten to be less formal. If you want to go the vest route, bring a jacket; you can take it off once you’re seated, but the look is incomplete without it on a nice date.

Moving on to a more mid-range formality:

semi-formal date nightThis date is a dinner party or a nice, but not hoity-toity restaurant. This look is a step above the norm, showing your date that you care enough to put in some effort. It mixes and matches formal pieces: slacks, jackets, button-ups, and sweaters, but doesn’t go for the whole ensemble. Your button up is still tucked in at this level though. Khakis and colored pants are more casual, as are non-button shirts.

And finally casual without being sloppy:

casual date nightThis date is a regular old dinner and a movie. It’s a corn maze, a night with friends, or a night around town. But this is still a date, so your casual is not sweats or shorts or sandals (notable exception being a beach date, but is it really the season for that?). Layers are your friends because than you are free to adjust as the night continues. Nothing on your body should have holes or stains or pronounced fading. Pick simple classics that fit, so that your date isn’t distracted by your outfit (whether too formal or just bad).

Whether you are taking your spouse or long-time significant other out for Valentines or on a blind date or somewhere in between, dress to impress, but make sure to let a bit of your natural style shine through, after all dates are about getting to know people.

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.

The Secret Superhero Disguise

As you may have noticed, here at WAMSW we’ve inadvertently taken up the cause of reclaiming the nerd. All of the things that used to be the uniform for “nerds” is cool now, at least in our book (I may or may not have just binged on a bunch of VlogBrothers videos). Well here in this post we’ll talk about the quintessential nerd signifier, that is really one geek chic thing we really like: Guys in Glasses.

sophisticated geek chic

My dad tells a story about getting glasses when he was a kid, when the two options were Clark Kent and the librarian. He adamantly did not want to be Clark Kent and opted for contacts as soon as he could (which are a great option for either some or all the time). But here’s the thing: times have changed. There are now hundreds, if not thousands, of different glasses to pick from and yet my first choice is still the Clark Kent. Be Clark Kent. Or I guess for the purposes of this post, Peter Parker (because let’s be honest, not every incarnation of these characters dons eyewear, but they all should).

Personally I love big black frames. And they are all the rage right now, and have been for years. Sure they might be hipster glasses, but they aren’t ironic if you need them. Also tortoiseshell are an equally professorial, but less harsh option.

Now seeing as I myself do not wear glasses (I would like to, but I have been blessed with good eyes), I would probably tell you to just try on a bunch of pairs before making a decision, but maybe you want to narrow down the field. Here is a helpful face shape to glasses shape chart (it’s for sunglasses, but the same theory applies). If you need help figuring out your face shape they say you can trace it in a mirror with some mirror safe material. And I would always say to follow the advice on the “oval face” section: Frames should be at least as wide as your face at its widest point.

Glasses for your face shape

Decide how much you want/are willing to spend. Glasses can be expensive, like really expensive. My dad was admiring a friend’s glasses and realized “Of course they look good, they are Ray Bans”. And as much as I have a huge weakness for Ray Bans, they are not on the cheap end. When thinking about prices, also consider how you tend to treat your glasses. If they last you forever and have a classic look, you can probably splurge a little more. If you’re the type who always accidentally falls asleep in them, you might want to save some of the cash for the fixes and replacements.

If you are concerned about styles like the Peter Parker/Clark Kent/general undercover superhero styles looking out of date, I have one piece of advice: make sure it doesn’t look like you just haven’t purchased new glasses in twenty years. This is way easier for young guys to get away with because that just isn’t an option. I mean Peter’s glasses in the Amazing Spider-man are literally his dad’s, but they look trendy on him. (Who am I kidding, they looked great on his dad too, those babies are classic). If the pair have some new or trendy element, they won’t look out-dated, even if they retain a vintage charm. But seriously, just try them on.

We love us some glasses