When backing up my broken laptop I came across some self shots I took and had planned on doing a post on before shit started falling apart on that computer. Now that I have things up and running again I thought I’d run this post through.
Working With Tanner – Always a Blast
For these clothes I again went and had an online consultation with Tanner. I had a great sense of what I wanted to get out of it as well as knowing my sizes from the previous consultation. With a basic idea of what I wanted from reading Tanner’s and VK’s articles on fashion at NexxtLevelUp and Masculine style I gave him a quick outline -
A good toggle coat
A navy blazer
An alternate pair of boots
and fill out some accessories
Basically, I wanted to be both warm and stylish this winter in Chicago. Having grown up in Colorado, I’ve seen lots of really, REALLY bad winter fashion. Puffy coats that make you look like a marshmellow or people that couldn’t color coordinate outfits if their life depended on in. Shit like this:
Slight exaggeration by Seinfeld, but not by much. When there’s a mixture of money, trendiness, cold weather, and white people with no sense of fashion this is the kind of stuff you’ll see churned out. Or you’ll get try hard skier and snowboarding jackets that sometimes make it hard to tell the stoner snowboarders from the Californians/Texans who are hitting the slopes and don’t know any better
Really. They get stuff that is made for one use only but then wear it around every day when they’re not on the slopes. They look silly without a sense of appropriate wear. At best you get guys like this:
Nothing wrong with it, per se. Yet it’s definitely a coat and outfit that would simply fade into the background. It also does an excellent job hiding any work you’ve been doing at the gym and your body type. Great if you’re a marshmallow and want to hide yourself and your body.
But we don’t want that
We’re Charismatic, red pill men. We strive to be some of the top and to stand out for our good sense of taste. So, appropriate fashion. It has to fit the situation, yet stand out.
While staying warm. Dear lord, keep me from becoming a man-sicle here in Chicago
Toggle Coat from Topman – Love the coat. I love the history behind the coats too. Coming from a Navy family that’s served since WWII (though never having served myself), I definitely was glad I specified this item. It’s super warm, fits amazingly well. I don’t think anyone could look unmasculine in this coat without trying as hard as the Topman model. Their picture just makes me laugh, so I’ll include it:
I just had the strap that wraps around the bottom toggle break last night, but otherwise very satisfied. I’ll either see if I can take the coat in to a tailor to get that repaired, or might see if I can acceptably repair it myself. I got a pair of Topman shoes for Christmas that I’m also very happy with (though from the stories I wouldn’t order online if you can avoid it – my mother apparently had to order the shoes 3 times and got double charged till they fixed their mistake). Still, quality men’s wear. Oh, and while I got the hat for free (It got left all alone at a theatre I was working at for 3 weeks, so I grabbed it), I dug around for this post for you guys and found it here at LL bean. It’s nice thick wool, with a good cream and brown pattern that will go with most clothes.
Blazer and Shirt – These are probably both my favorite items that Tanner picked out for me this round. They really are an amazing items and quality for the price individually, but what really stands out is how they fit within the wardrobe I’m building. Tanner picked out another blazer from Gap; again surprising me with what kind of quality items you can find there. Like the last one it’s a herringbone pattern in the material, but subtler because of the colors. The material’s thicker and, while I was sad it wasn’t tailored sizes (just small, med, large, etc), I appreciated the extra bulk when January hit and I was throwing on more layers.
The shirt is nice too. It’s from L.L Bean’s Signature collection – which apparently is so ‘special’ they make another site for it that I would have never known about if not for Tanner. Go check the site out – tons of really great stuff there. I had to restrain myself from not overspending what I had budgeted out. I limited myself to one extra item that I’ll get to later. But the shirt I got is high quality. Good material, really saturated colors, and thick enough to stay warm while still being a nice, collared dress shirt.
The tie is from the last consultation but goes with the outfit amazingly – the blue and orange in the tie match the shirt, with the green being different enough to not be try hard. While shopping the stars aligned and I found a great hat that was both on sale and fit my head (I wear XL hats and most only come L) at Nordstrom’s. Here’s the same outfit with the other hat
Not a hat for keeping warm, but definitely will give you a more high value than the beanie. For $25 it was completely worth it. I’ll usually swap this out with the beanie for meetings; especially for first impressions. Meanwhile the beanie will be what I toss on when I’m chilling with friends. It’s about 50/50 for what I wear to bars and clubs. But almost every time I throw this outfit on I get complimented on looking so dapper.
The Sweater – For this we also went to LL bean. This post makes me seem like a walking catalog for them, but it was completely unintentional. Anyways, I love this sweater. Really thick wool, a shawl neck that doesn’t go over the top, so it can still be paired well with other items. It’s got a V neck with buttons, so a lot of ability to play with how formal you want to be. Unusual in a sweater, but it works well.
It’s my go to these days for really casual situations. Especially around the house as shown in the picture. The other extra thing I got from LL Bean was a cardigan, and I pair it and the sweater together fairly often. I took a risk without asking Tanner about it and went with the one you see below. If I wanted to play it safer I could have gone with the cream one, but decided that I have gotten a decent amount of solid staples more on the ‘danger’ part of a man’s danger and play in a wardrobe. So I indulged my play, “go to hell I’m an artist” side. Though when it’s not quiet as cold I prefer to wear it with the blue chambray to get a little bit more contrast from the whole thing:
The cardigan fits a bit longer than you’d expect from the picture they have online. Which isn’t bad, just something to note. The longer length, to me, makes it seem even more laid back and less sportsman compared to smaller cardigans or blazers. Between the fit and the shawl collar on it you have the feeling you should sit back and have a cigar with some scotch.
Boots – I would have never found these or thought of them, but these boots are amazing. Florsheim Gaffney Boots. The online photo has them looking look more polished and shiny than they are, and I’m glad they’re different. You can see them a bit in the photo above, but I also have them below. They have a great finish to them that’s a bit rougher, but still dressy and will age/wear incredibly well. A polished version of these would look too try hard and presumptuous in the artistic circles I run in. These are perfect to fill the gap between the redwing’s Tanner picked out for me last consultation and the more formal meetings and opening night parties. Having this pair of shoes also has the added bonus of making me feel more comfortable to wear the redwings more often for day to day activities and not having to pay as much attention to how often I’m rotating shoes to both give the leather a break while still looking good.
They’re solid boots and have a hard enough heel to them that you’ll be noisy on any hard flooring. Simply own the click of walking and you’ll be fine.
Accessories – This post is getting a lot longer than I thought it would originally, so I’m gonna try and breeze through these.
Head – This is the one accessory I had Tanner help me out with; the rest I picked on my own. I hate most warm weather hats that cover your ears. In Chicago, if you’re in your 20′s there’s way too many hipsters with what I can only call lumberjack hats like these or trendy caps with ear flaps. So I made sure to ask Tanner for some alternative options in this consultation and he had the idea of a driving cap. To keep my head warm Tanner picked out a wool driving cap with ear flaps that fold up inside of it. Formal, stylish, and warm. Picked it up at Sierra Trading Post.
Gloves – I picked out two pair while shopping around. A nice thick pair of leather gloves from Eddie Bauer that’s lined with lambswool. Very masculine. The ones linked are black, but I found a good dark brown one If I want a bit of extra “Go to hell” vibe, I’ll keep them on inside bars and clubs when I go out. I’m quiet as go to hell as to do that with sunglasses like Danger and Play, but dark leather gloves work wonders for this in my opinion. Because the first pair was on sale, I also got a pair of blue suede gloves from H&M. They lighter and have more manual dexterity – so they’re a good ‘play’ accessory at meetings when I’ll be writing. I avoid pairing them with the blue blazer though – way too many shades of blue all at once.
Neck – I originally bought one at H&M that I now never wear because the one I got on sale from Sierra Trading post is just so damn nice. Merino wool, warm, not irritating to the skin of my neck, and it’s actually long enough to wear how I like to. This one is almost exactly like it, only mine has the occasional and subtle threading of a mauve-ish red through it as well.
All in the Accessories
While I did just blow through them – nearly all the specific compliments I get for an article of clothing are for the hats, scarves, or gloves I wear. It’s only through having a look that fits well together that those kinds of details will be noticeable on a regular basis, so keep that in mind that you’re doing something right if that’s what you get on a regular basis. It’s where you’ll get things either just right or blow your whole look to hell if you get items that look cheap or out of place.
In conclusion – I’m glad I did a second consultation
The first one was a lot like having a tour guide in a country you’ve never been to before. I didn’t know the language, didn’t know the country, didn’t know the culture, the history, nothing. I had just stepped off the plane and started on a journey. I absolutely needed the help.
This second consultation was like a return visit. I knew the locals, has a basic grasp of all those things I didn’t know on the first trip, and merely needed to ask for directions on how to get to the non-touristy parts of the country. I wouldn’t even begin to say I’m an expert in fashion. But I’m not confident in my opinions and ability to wander around on my own. I knew a large amount of what I wanted, I just needed directions and help from Tanner on how to get there. I have confidence that, after this second consultation, while I might get ‘lost’ and pick out a bad article of clothing, or something that doesn’t fit quiet right, here or there, but a quick check in to Tanner’s site or NexxtLevelUp will likely set me straight.
Plus it’s just fun and good to get an outside opinion. Being an expert, he had several ideas I wouldn’t have ever had.
Last Note – hair
I think I’ve gotten stuck on my hair. I’ve been messing around with it ever since the original consultation. Seeing what I can do with it while still looking masculine. It’s gotten to a point where I think it was a crutch to be easily remembered – both in my professional life and approaching women. Now that I’ve had two years in Chicago, I think it’s time for it to go. Professionally I’ve built up my career and my work. With women it’s been a long time since any women approached me on it as they used to on a regular basis. I also recently got called ‘adorable’ for it.
The last thing a man wants to be called.
Adorable from a woman he’s not sleeping with.
While I wouldn’t do this just on an off chance remark, the actions of women have been similar for the last three months. So, I’m thinking tomorrow I’m going to go and get a military style cut. From the feedback I’m getting it seems with the new wardrobe the hair isn’t congruent. Expect future pictures to be a sharper, short haircut similar to what I used to have: