Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bespoken About.

Last Fall, Bloomingdales became the exclusive American stockist for Bespoken, the British label seeking to step foot into the fashion world by means of classic and tasteful menswear. While the label has only released one previous collection (Autumn/Winter 08), their refreshingly simple Spring 09 collection makes it clear that Bespoken is a label with a no-nonsense approach to clothing: they use only the most exclusive and authentic fabrics, they tailor with the utmost precision and attention to detail, and they design and manufacture their entire line in England. Sadly the label doesn't sell any of its products online... at least, not yet. So unless you have access to Harrods London or a Bloomingdales store, you'd be hard pressed to grab a hold of Bespoken. However, without a doubt this is a label that deserves attention. And I suspect it's only a matter of time before this young, budding, and chic English label will be the new talk of the town.

More information at Bespoken.Com

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Reclaiming the Boyfriend Jean.

So your girlfriend took your baggy jeans and decided to wear them for herself. Well, the go-to denim brand for the made-for-women Boyfriend Jean (popularized by Katie Holmes) has just come out with the answer to your girl's beloved baggy denim: introducing Current/Elliott's Tom Sawyer Jean. This spring the denim brand, whose slogan appropriately reads "Wear For Love/Love For Wear", offers the style in two washes: Hickory and Super Loved Rip and Repair. The Tom Sawyer Jean looks as if it's been worn and worked for years, lending it a relaxed and effortless appeal (as is the case with all Current/Elliott's jeans). But being the respected line that Current/Elliott is, there's no doubt that the Tom Sawyer Jean is made with the best quality denim and the highest level of care. So now is your chance to show your girlfriend how a pair of real boyfriend jeans look like. And I have a feeling she'll go wild over them.

More information at CurrentElliott.Com

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Beauty from Bangalore.

Following models is something that I do. I memorize their names, their physical statistics, their campaigns, their editorials. I do it because, well, beauty is inspiring. I know, I know -- sappy much? Maybe. But let's take the stunning Lakshmi Menon as an example shall we...

How can you not look at her and think, "Damn. Now that is a beautiful woman." This Indian stunner, born in 1981, is, by fashion industry standards, old for modeling. Yet, she's the "It" model of the moment, booking jobs for such renowned fashion bibles as Vogue and L'Officiel.

But beauty is beauty, regardless of one's age, skin colour, status, or height. It doesn't hurt though that Lakshmi's got it all. A breathtaking face? Check. A slammin' body? Mhm. Regality? Without a doubt. Poise and maturity? Undeniably. The list goes on and on.

Lakshmi began modelling at the age of 25. Her first major booking was the 2007 ad campaign for Swatch. Next she landed the cover of Vogue India's premier issue. From there she skyrocketed to supermodel status, booking an unprecedented amount of coveted editorials, fashion campaigns, and covers.

If you want to learn more about and see more of Lakshmi Menon, just google her or visit her agency's website, Ford Models. And grab this month's copy for US Vogue to see her in an editorial entitled "India Are We" photographed by Mikael Jansson. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Scents of Hermes.

By 1949, the Parisian fashion house Hermès was already primed to reach renowned status. So what do you do next when you're already producing what would soon become some of the world's most exclusive and coveted luxury apparel and goods? You make a fragrance to go along with everything else. Eau d'Hermès, created by Edmond Roudnitska, was the first of its kind: the scent, daring enough (at that time) to feature notes like bergamot, lemon tree, and cinnamon, instantly became a classic. Only 1500 bottles were made for the debut, and both women and men grabbed at the chance to waft in the smell of Hermes.

In 1959, Hermès decided to make their fragrance a continuing staple. It wasn't until 1961 however when the house finally decided to make their perfumery section subsidiary, coinciding with the re-entry into the US market and the release of Calèche by Hermés. Several very successful fragrances later and no one could deny that the family-run business had the golden touch, committing themselves to any and all products and executing them with the highest level of workmanship and taste.

Fast forward to 2009, and Hermès has done it yet again: their new trio of colognes for men, appropriately titled Les Colognes, is a mix of three very distinct scents all effervescent and classic in their own right. The set includes a modern version of Hermès most popular scent Eau d'Orange Verte, a simply effortless presentation of orange and mint notes; Eau de Pamplemousse Rose, showing off a delicious sparkling grapefruit scent with rose and rhubard; and the earthier Eau de Gentiane Blanche, featuring notes of white musk, gentian, and a hint of iris. The latter two fragrances are the creations of Hermès' new in-house perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena, whose renown in perfumery is nothing short of brilliant.

More information at Hermès.Com

If you're looking for something sheer but refreshing for the warmer months to come, or even for something more refined that can easily take you from morning to night, you can't go wrong with the new Les Colognes trio from Hermès. After all, who wouldn't want to walk around with that timeless smell of elegance, sophistication, and savoir-faire all-day long and all-year round?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Let It Rain (For Valet Magazine)

Life's been chaotic the past few weeks. What with traveling to Canada and then Hong Kong, arriving in Providence and then stopping by Boston... my body clock is no longer existent. That being said, I do have a flood of posts coming up after this coming week passes -- everything from watches, to shoes, to bags, and just all types of sartorial goodies. I'll also throw in a low down on Hong Kong, and some of the interesting fashion trends I spotted there.

For now though, check out a freelance piece I was fortunate enough to write for the impeccably sartorial Valet Magazine entitled, "Let It Rain." It's an article on the rain boot and its ever practical use (and in my opinion, very dapper style). Though for those of you who are fortunate enough to be enjoying the wondrous glimpses of warmth and dryness that should indeed come with Spring, please soak it up for all of us left to battle through wet terrains!

Have a wonderful Easter everyone!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Le Pliage: It's Affordable, Collapsible, and French.

Everywhere I turn, I see the Le Pliage. It is fitting that the new "It" bag by Longchamp is named after the word pliage (french for a folding), since the bag virtually disappears in a matter of folds. From its debut, the Longchamp Le Pliage was the epitome of affordable and effortless French style. The lightweight nylon fabric of the bag provides the bag its signature structure: regardless of whether is full or empty, the Le Pliage holds the distinct shape it's come to be recognized for. Back then, the "It" bag was definitely the Herve' Chapelier tote. The past couple of years however, there was a turn toward an "It" shape: more and more women today need bags that fit their individual needs, and a nylon tote doesn't always make the cut. But low and behold, upon returning to campus after the winter holiday, I was overwhelmed by the amount of women sporting the Le Pliage bag, in all colours, all sizes, and all styles.

$98 Le Pliage Small Original Handbag (regular thin strapped), at Longchamp.com

I usually knock down trends. From my experience, "It" items are quick and passing fads. But I must say, the Le Pliage bag is destined to become bonafide classic (if it isn't already). Case in point: my grandmother bought her black travel sized Le Pliage nearly 15 years ago and still uses it today. Indeed, for women who want to invest in a practical and chic handbag, spending a minimum of $98 USD for a Le Pliage is indeed a worthy option (especially in this "economic recession").

I'm sure the bag is popular all over the world, and not just within my tiny vacuum of a campus (my school has a measly population of roughly 6,000 students). And regardless of whether a woman (or young girl for that matter) purchases the Le Pliage for practical use or to keep up with the masses of other Le Pliage carrying consumers, the handbag is undoubtedly a timeless buy. But I guess my big predicament now is whether or not a man like me can have his very own Le Pliage.

$235 Le Pliage Travel Bag (Chocolate), at Longchamp.com

Interestingly enough, the Le Pliage is described as a unisex bag. I've yet to see a man with the bag, but I will admit that I wouldn't mind a Longchamp travel sized Le Pliage in chocolate, or the special edition Le Pliage Art Deco travel bag. I mean c'mon: it's affordable, it's collapsible, it's French, and it comes with shoulder straps!

$285 Le Pliage Art Deco Travel Bag, at Longchamp.Com

Friday, March 6, 2009

On a Roll.

Today was a hopeful day in New England. The temperature reached the 50s, a joyous occasion indeed, especially since the sudden snowstorm invasion on Monday seemed to suggest a never-ending Winter. Thus I decided to give myself a little taste of Spring, and I rolled up my J. Crew khakis.

But a somewhat sad realization struck me as I stepped out of my room and into the streets, only to encounter a few questionable glances: not everyone understands the rolled pant. I mean, I should have figured - this is Providence, not Manhattan. But earlier a friend commented, "Vinny, you look like you're preparing for a flood!"; and another asked, "Did you forget to roll down your pants?" For a moment, I felt like I made a complete fool of myself with this particular sartorial choice.

But you know what, at the end of the day I do love my cuffed khakis, and I'll tell you why: rolled, cuffed, or cropped pants - when done correctly (and this is key) - look so smart. Interestingly enough, a friend from London did indeed enjoy the look, noting that the rolled pant is something she sees often in Europe. So maybe appreciating the rolled pant simply requires a refined eye. And rock the right pair of shoes with the look, and your entire aesthetic appeal becomes so irresistibly easy. Today I wore a pair of Gucci drivers, without socks (someone even asked me why I didn't have any socks on!), and felt (for the most part) confident and put together.

I've seen many stylish men carry the rolled pant look, and carry it well. From what I gather, here are some basic tips to sporting the rolled pant: do so with lighter shades and lighter materials, such as khakis and chinos; as far as denim, cuff skinny jeans and roll baggy ones; and again, don't forget the shoes -- tan coloured mocs and drivers, navy and brown boat shoes, and even suede oxfords are all excellent choices.

When I think Spring and Summer, I think simple and carefree. So when the warmth and sunshine finally do come rolling in along with the seasons, I say go ahead and roll those pants up too.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Prada Messenger.

When Prada showed their Spring 2009 collection last year, one bag caught my eye: The Navy Nylon/Suede Messenger. The quilted nylon, the earthy leather straps, and the suede work so well together. And those gold accents are a nice touch too.

I've been using my Prada messenger for about a month now, and I can't complain. The bag holds up well in most conditions, but it is probably better to sport something more water-resistant when the rain comes-a-pouring. The bag has two external pockets beneath the flap, the main pouch, in which there is a smaller zip-up pocket, and a length-wide zip-up compartment on the back. And the detailing on the inside is flawless.

This messenger isn't huge by any means; in fact, it might be smaller than your typical messenger bag since it comes without any expandable pockets, and the material isn't one that stretches easily (nor should it be). But I manage just fine with its size. My 15" MacBook Pro fits inside nicely, along with a full notebook, my Moleskine planner, and if necessary, another small book or two.

It's refreshing for a change to see a bag that not only meets its purpose, but also pulls together just about any look. So thank you Prada.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Down in the Trenches.

The year was 1901. Thomas Burberry, a young English draper, was relishing in the increasing popularity of his fairly new outdoor attire clothing store, Burberry. Around the same time he made a wardrobe proposal to the British Army for which he designed a raincoat made of gabardine, a heavy-duty water-resistant, yet breathable, fabric. The British Army decided to use Burberry's design; 20 years later, they asked the young designer to redesign the raincoat as a militaristic jacket. Thomas Burberry went a step further, adding to the trench epaulettes, d-rings, straps, and a overall design functionality that could hold up in the trenches. Who would have thought that almost a century later, the trench coat would also hold up in style.

Now while Burberry trench coats are indeed a wardrobe staple, other notable names carry trenches that are practical, modern, and also reasonably priced. Reiss, a British clothing company, has some slick new trench designs right now like their Double Breasted Quinn Fashion Mac, which you can find at ASOS for $412.75. The shorter length of this coat translates into an easy casualness, and affords the piece that put-on-and-go quality. Other great trenches for this season are the Villain Trench by Marc Jacobs, the Classic Trench by Operations, and the Worker's Trench by J Crew. And if you're going to invest in a trench coat, go for double-breasted and beige: undeniably classic.

Trench coats meld practicality and sophistication into one: they hold up well against the rain and the wind, and they're effortless. Just be sure to make note of what length suits you. Longer trenches come off as a bit dressier while shorter trenches are more relaxed. Trenches also tend to work better with darker pants, including dark washes of denim, or really light shades, like white and khaki. And if you really want to work the casual look, slip into a well-fitted hoodie, throw on some blue jeans, and pull on your trench coat. Of course, if you're into going commando, that works too.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Derivations and Such.

Let's start out with some particular definitions shall we?

tailored, n. Made to suit particular needs; adjusted.

style, n. A kind, sort, or type, as determined by manner of composition or construction, or by outward appearance.

lifestylen. A way or style of living.

(Many thanks to the Oxford English Dictionary -- such a useful tool).

And now the general blabbery:

This is my quotidial journal of style, my personal vogue if you will. Truth is, I spend a good portion of my life spotting trends, trying to understand some of them, and attempting to pull off others. So why not keep track, of both the hits and the misses?

Let me be the first to admit that I am no maven and I am certainly no sartorialist. No, I'm just a peruser of style blogs, a pursuer of style, and maybe through this blog even a purveyor of style advice. Furthermore, I, like many others, am in a constant attempt to find a lifestyle that truly resonates with who I am. I believe then that lifestyles shouldn't be adopted, they should be cultured.

I want to make one thing clear though: this blog is not about fashion, but living in a pursuit of personal style. I differentiate the two -- fashion and style -- because fashion is an entity, the dynamic, shifting wave of what's in today and what's out tomorrow. Fashion is marvelous, but it's simultaneously too vast and too specific. Furthermore, fashion is difficult to write about from a personal standpoint since fashion writing usually holds a certain level of objectivity. But writing about style is personal. For me, style is compositional. More importantly, style can be timeless. Style requires not so much a chicness, but simply a comfortable confidence. And with enough observing, enough risk-taking, and enough daring, style can be perfected, style can be tailored.

Thus, A Tailored Lifestyle.