Is your summer wardrobe in need of a refresh? At key points throughout the year, my Rath & Co. clients and I reassess their wardrobes for the upcoming season. We look at what works and what doesn't, and what they didn't have enough of last year. If you haven't gone through this exercise for summer, before you go into full beach mode, carve out time to go through all of your summer clothes so that you can create a clear list of what's missing. Below is my hit list of 10 summer must-haves to help guide you, plus a couple of grooming bonuses:1) Lightweight t-shirts: a mix of henleys, crew and v-necks2) Sweatshirt or long-sleeve shirt for post-beach3) Summer footwear: sandals, flip-flops, or what I call social sneaks (aka nice sneakers you wouldn't work out in)4) Sunglasses5) Swimsuits: here's a guide on how to choose the best style for you.6) Lightweight and light color dress shirts, pants, sportcoats, and suits (the latter two depend on your social calendar and how frequently you dress up for work).7) Shorts8) Strong deodorant with anti-perspirant9) Minty soap: for more on soaps and other grooming products that will keep you cool, check out my post on Heat-Wave Style.10) Sun protection: I'm fair-skinned and super-picky about what type I use -- VMV Hypoallergenics Armada Face Cover is what works best for me. Also check out Bioastin Astaxanthin, which is an antioxidant that's said to help protect skin against the sun.What's on your hit list for summer?Cheers,Julie
Looking for the perfect gift for your main squeeze? Stumped on what to request for yourself? From stocking stuffers to splurges, these 8 gifts have you covered.1) Grid-It Organizer - Keep your gear in line with this organizer. Great for at-home storage or travel. ($14)
2) Hook + Albert Fair Isle Socks - Hook + Albert makes stellar quality socks, and fair isle is a fitting pattern for holiday gifting. ($30)
3) Bolin Webb Razor - Form meets function in this deliciously sleek Bolin Webb razor, featuring a MACH3 blade. ($80)
4) JVDF Lizard Toggle Bracelet - Lizard skin, sterling silver and silk create a cool and visually interesting combo. ($295)
5) Want Les Essentiels De La Vie Leather Gloves - The weather in NYC has been frightfully cold, and I've gotten more than a few "gloves needed stat" emails from clients and clients' wives looking for gifts. I like the zipper and contrasting suede thumb on these. ($206)
6) Mont Blanc Mother of Pearl Cufflinks - The range of colors in these cufflinks make them simple to match, and the swivel bar back allows for easy placement on your shirt cuffs. ($415)
8) Lotuff Leather Duffle - Stand out from the crowd with this sumptuous navy leather duffle from Lotuff. Perfect size for an overnight or a day at work followed by a trip to the gym. ($965)
What's on your wish list this holiday season? Warm wishes and hip gifts,Julie
Sure, women are affected by what you’re wearing, but whether or not they swoon over you is about much more than that. Whether you’re new to the dating scene and ready to turn heads, or you’re in a relationship and want to show your partner the best version of yourself, read on for 8 tips on taking your attractiveness to the next level.1) Don’t overdo the cologne. A small spritz on one or both wrists then a dab, wrist to neck, will do the trick. Also, make sure the scent you use works with your body chemistry. You can do this by testing it at the store then seeing if you still like the way it smells on you after half an hour or so. And if you wear aftershave, remember that has a scent too. It should not be overpowering, especially in combination with your cologne.2) Everyone looks better when they smile. In order to make your smile as attractive as possible, it’s imperative that you take good care of your teeth. Have them whitened professionally or use an at-home system. Consider a retainer or Invisalign for crooked teeth.3) Trim the hair around your eyebrows and ears as needed. Keep the rest of your body hair in check, including having the back of your neck cleaned up between haircuts.4) Keep your nails clean and trim. Chewed up fingernails will make you look nervous, and dirty nails are just plain unappetizing.5) Use a tongue cleaner and mouth wash to combat bad breath and carry breath strips or altoids when out on a date.6) Be chivalrous. This one's common sense, but it's often neglected. It's simple: hold the door for her, open her car door, and tell her she looks nice (in a non-slimy way).7) I have a new client who mentioned that he has a flip phone. I’m not saying you need to have the latest and greatest of everything, but make sure you at least stay current with technology. An extremely outdated phone is not a good look!8) Be confident in your appearance. When you look good (and you know it), you'll naturally feel better about yourself. As a result, you'll radiate effortless, positive energy and confidence, which becomes contagious and magnetic, and therefore others will respond to you with the same positivity that you reflect.Do any of these tips resonate? In the comments below, let me know what strategy you’re going to try first and what tips you have to make yourself attractive.Cheers,Julie(Image via Esquire.com.)
Scorching hot temps got you down? When it’s 90+ degrees out, you are definitely going to do some sweating. But there are ways you can prepare so that you minimize the damage to your wardrobe and appearance. Below are 11 tips for keeping cool and confident this summer.Grooming1) Take your morning shower with the coldest water you can stand, and use a cooling soap with mint.2) When you get out of the shower, powder your feet, armpits and groin to help keep you dry. Menscience body powder uses cornstarch and zinc oxide instead of talc (which has shown to have negative health effects) and was formulated for all-over use.3) Use deodorant with antiperspirant, which slows the production of underarm sweat. 4) Apply a cooling product like Korres's Greek Yogurt Cooling Gel as needed, post-shower. It’s designed for sunburns, but does a great job relieving all sensations of heat from your body.5) Face wipes also make you feel and look cool by absorbing grease and oil.6) Get your hair cut shorter and more frequently during warm months (including cleanups for the hair on the back of your neck and around your ears).Clothing7) My guiding principle is that clothing should always fit impeccably, but in the summer months, I am OK with slightly looser fits to facilitate airflow, especially for items like linen shirts and pants.8) Dark colors absorb sunlight and therefore heat, so opt for light colors like white, off-white, light grey, beige, and pastels, all of which present as more seasonally appropriate as well. 9) Choose natural fibers that breathe and are good at absorbing moisture. These include tropical weight wools, seersucker (not just for suits), linen (try in a tie if you wear one every day), hopsack, light cottons (opt for cotton broadcloth vs. a heavier oxford), cashmere, and silk. I like Bonobos' lightweight chinos and the summer weight casual top above left and right. When shopping, be sure to read labels and avoid anything with nylon or polyester in it.10) A quarter-lined or unlined suit jacket or sport coat will be lighter on your body than one with a full lining. (Note: this type of unconstructed jacket is inherently more casual than those with full linings, so be wise about where you wear them). If you go quarter lining, make sure the lining is made from Bemberg, which does a better job than silk of wicking moisture from your body.Plan Ahead11) Keep your office stocked with a backup shirt (especially good if you have a big meeting at the end of the day or dinner/drinks after work), face wipes mentioned above, and a bottle of deodorant. That way you're set if things get sticky.How do you stay cool and comfortable in the summer months and still look like you mean business?
It’s always nice to get a fresh start in the new year. Below are 8 suggested style resolutions to help you abandon old ways and embrace new ones. 1) Incorporate color. Fall and winter are seasons for dark, moody colors, but Spring is the time to work in some pep and optimism. Try a solid shirt in an unexpected shade like this green above. Keep the rest of the look solid to avoid overkill (or eye strain).2) Try a different brand. Too often what I see in new clients’ closets is a lack of variety. While it’s natural to stock up if something works for you, think outside the box in the new year, and experiment with new brands. One that I love is Todd Snyder, which now has a website from which you can order directly.3) Shoe care. An easy way to get right in the new year is to have your shoes refurbished by a good cobbler. My go-to in NYC is The Leather Spa. 4) Try a new garment. If you’ve never worn a turtleneck sweater (à la Steve McQueen), now could be the time. They’ve been all over the runways and stores recently, and they’re a great way to up the style ante when done right. Keep the fit trim, the knit fine, the color neutral, and layer it under a suit or sportcoat as an alternative to a dress shirt and tie.5) Whiten your teeth. You can do this with an at-home kit like Crest Whitestrips, or get a stronger solution with custom-made trays from your dentist. 6) Embrace a trend. One Spring 2013 trend that's very accessible is color-blocking. This sweater from Tim Coppens with large swaths of color is an easy way to incorporate this look.7) Love your clothes up. Lose the wire hangers from the cleaners (which cause your clothes to become misshapen), and get nice quality wooden hangers, or, if you have space issues, I’m a big fan of these non-slip slim line hangers.8) Get new headshots. If you haven’t done this recently, what are you waiting for? Click for my step-by-step guide.Wishing you all things good and stylish in the new year.Cheers,Julie
Images courtesy of GQ and Black Watch
There’s lots of advice around on how new moms can keep it together fashion-wise after a little one arrives on scene. As a men’s Image and Style Consultant perhaps I’m biased, but sometimes new dads have just as much trouble maintaining a fresh sense of style. The keys are to keep it straightforward and functional, and below are six tips on how new dads can do just that.
Masculine Baby AccessoriesThe heading may sound like an oxymoron, but there’s a whole industry catering to hip dads who don’t want to carry around flowered diaper bags. Companies like Diaper Dude and Storksak design bags with these dads in mind: they come in solid dark colors like carbon grey and army green, not to mention in brown and black leather.
Stylish FunctionalityIt’s no secret that you need to tote a lot of gear when you have kids. Luckily for the fashion-conscious dad, slim cargo pants are currently on-trend, so these guys can stow some of what they’ll need in those pockets for easy access. I like this khaki pair from Lands’ End Canvas, the black camo’s from Rogue or J Brand’s vintage trooper cargo.
Dark MatterThe first thing I usually hear from clients who are parents is how easy it is for clothes to get ruined from drips, drools and worse. With this in mind, new dads should look for machine washable clothes in forgiving dark colors.
Know Your FabricsStyle-savvy dads can further protect their clothes by wearing stain-resistant fabrics. A company called Nano-Tex has engineered an incredible fabric called Nano-Care Stressfree that literally repels stains; brands like Gap, Levi’s and Eddie Bauer sell clothing made with this technology. New dads can also protect themselves from looking worn out by wearing fabrics that look better when a little wrinkled. Think chambray, linen or flannel shirts and washed cotton chinos from inexpensive stores like Uniqlo.
Basic GroomingIt can be easy to get lax about haircuts, hair trimming and shaving once the little one shows up, but part of looking good is maintaining these elements of style. Many hair stylists make house calls, making it easy to fit cuts into your busy schedule.
Stay OrganizedWhen you’re sleep-deprived, you won’t want to contend with a messy, confusing closet. Clean and organize your closet regularly so you can get dressed quickly. And if you need help, call in a professional.
Most importantly for new dads: Have a clear game plan at the outset. There’s no need to descend to a dad jeans + hoodie combo when you can just as easily put on a casual sport coat and well-fitted jeans – even if you’re just heading to the park. I hope the above tips help, and I welcome your questions and comments!
The nice folks at Philips Norelco recently sent me their Vacuum Stubble and Beard Trimmer Pro for testing. We tried it on Rath & Co. team member Josh, who usually sports a bit of neatly trimmed stubble. Here's how it went:-We loved the vacuum design. It was a major bonus not having hair fly all over the place while shaving.-The blade felt big, sturdy and soft. We didn't need any fancy products for it to be comfortable.-Josh liked being able to shave in reverse with it. The trimmer he nomally uses sometimes pulls on his hair painfully when he does that, but he had no issues with this one. We did notice some hairs in the sink though he used it backwards (which might mean we weren't supposed to do that).-It was nice to be able to customize what length stubble you're going for. The Trimmer Pro has 18 settings from 1mm-18mm.-We also liked the options for faster and slower speeds.Overall, this is an excellent product for no-brainer trimming if you want to get that "next day beard" look, without waiting for your hair to grow in after shaving and hoping it does so evenly. The Stubble and Beard Trimmer Pro retails for $59.99, and you can get it here. If you have any thoughts on this trimmer, or any others that you like, we welcome you to share them in comments or tweet me here.
No matter how tempting it might be to squeeze, dig or pick at a pimple, word life: don't do it. It will only irritate the area and make it more likely to spread. Below is an anti-zit concoction I discovered a few years back, and it always comes through. It's made up of items that are probably hanging around your kitchen already and is super easy to assemble.Materials:cotton swabhydrogen peroxide1/8 cup powdered oatmeal1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice1/4 c egg whites3 drops honeyDirections:1. Dab cotton swab in hydrogen peroxide and clean blemish area (this keeps the pimple from spreading).2. Mix everything else in a small bowl to create a paste.3. Cover pimple with mixture and leave on for twenty minutes.4. Rinse with warm water.5. Apply twice a day until zit disappears. (Leftovers will keep in fridge for up to one week.)
I met Ross D. at a party a few months back, and after one look at him, I knew we had to talk. That nonchalance! That haircut! Here was a guy who owns his look, whether it's a jean jacket and t-shirt or his "ride or die" vintage leather jacket. So I asked him a few questions...Rath: What do you do?Ross: I work in music. I do songwriter/producer management.Rath: Where do you hang out?Ross: I live in SoHo and pretty much never leave the downtown area. All my friends make fun of me. Going uptown is like a major travel commitment for me. The Upper East Side might as well be New Hampshire.Rath: Are you thinking of signing that guitarist behind you?Ross: If he can play "Stairway to Heaven" with his eyes closed, standing on one foot, while balancing a pineapple on this head then it's a done deal.Rath: What do you wear to a meeting with songwriters or producers?Ross: I usually wear whatever I feel comfortable in. The great thing about working in music is so can dress however you like. It enables you to express yourself creatively, which I feel ultimately helps foster both a creative and productive work environment.Rath: What's your favorite NYC music venue?Ross: I really like Bowery Ballroom. They always have good shows and the vibe is great. Brooklyn Bowl is a cool venue as well. Who wouldn't like kicking their friends asses in bowling while listening to great music?!Rath: What sort of outfit do you usually wear when you go there?Ross: I usually wear whatever I'm wearing to work, etc. However, recently I saw Hole play. I felt obligated to wear flannels and grunge it up.Rath: Where do you shop for clothes?Ross: Pretty much everywhere. In the words of my mom "Living in SoHo in like living in a mall". She is right. It is hard to step outside without buying anything. Trust me, I have the bills to prove it. I love vintage clothes. Eleven on Elizabeth is one of my favorites. LA has GREAT vintage. Jet Rag on La Brea is hard to beat.Rath: What's your favorite outfit?Ross: Definitely my black vintage motorcycle jacket. It took me forever to find the perfect one, but when I did I knew this was my "ride or die" jacket. I love the fact that the damn thing will outlive me and will probably end up right back in a vintage store someday being someone else's "amazing find". Full circle. Gotta love that.Rath: Where did you get that rad haircut?Ross: Amy at Arte Salon. She is the best. Not only does she give me a dope haircut every time, but she gives me whiskey too!Rath: Do you spend much time on hair styling, or are you a wash and wear guy?Ross: I'm definitely a wash and wear guy. Bed head was the best thing to happen to guys since ESPN. I wonder who the genius was that invented this look? Probably some hungover guy that was too lazy to comb his hair before work one day and just owned it. Brilliant.Rath: Do you have any men's style pet peeves?Ross: Wow I have a lot. First off, those knit hats with the baseball brims. They are the worst. This leads me to my next pet peeve...guys that wear knit hats in warm weather. If you are having a bad hair day or whatever just put on a baseball hat. I also really hate sandals. Good for the pool/beach but bad for everyday life. Who in the hell wants to see a man's hairy feet?!
I was flipping channels the other morning when I came across the above specimen of non-eyebrow grooming. At first I thought it was a joke, like maybe David Faber was having a snooze in the green room when Erin Burnett took a razor to one half of his brows and some crazy glue and a fake mustache to the other. But after a few minutes with no one batting an eyelash or, er, a long eyebrow strand, and showing David Faber how foolish he looked, I realized that it was no joke indeed.I’m not saying guys should go out and get their eyebrows perfectly formed, but when the pieces are so long they start to tickle your eyeballs, or you have one eyebrow instead of two (a unibrow? uh...check please), it’s time for a little grooming action. Find a reputable salon in your area and ask the groomer to reduce your brows. Tell him or her that you do not want scarily feminine eyebrows of the Jesse Metcalfe variety, but rather normal, cleaned-up, but still masculine ones. Then get yourself some tweezers and a pair of small scissors, and touch them up yourself in between visits, being careful not to get overzealous. Also consider using Givenchy’s Mister Eyebrow fixing pencil which contains adhesive polymers to keep those stubborn stragglers in line.P.S. Dear TV-photographing, I wish I knew how to quit you.
My always sharply-dressed and well-coiffed friend was visiting town last weekend, and both his Mint Tingle Facial Masque and his hair product were commandeered by airline security. So he asked me for a recommendation as to what he should buy to tide his hair over while here. After busting on him for being such a product junkie, I told him – and now I’ll tell you – about my go-to hair product: Kusco-Murphy Lavender Hair Cream. While in all cases one size doesn't fit all, I've seen it work nicely on a variety of hair types, and that's why I recommend it. Its texture and weight are perfect, as it’s neither too greasy like some of the heavy waxes out there for guys, nor too sticky like the silicone-based anti-frizz products. Also, it's not a gel, so your hair actually looks like hair, not a gravity-defying "blowout" like DJ Pauly D's signature 'do from Jersey Shore (check out this amusing video tutorial of him demoing his hair styling technique: "I'm just rubbing the gel around the perimeter"...wha? If your hair has a perimeter, we need to talk. See my Services page.).Anyway, back to Kusco-Murphy's lavender goodness. The smell is amazing, but very subtle, not like you bathed in Axe Body Spray. Although this product is on the expensive side, a little bit goes a long way. The best price I’ve found for an 8 oz jar is $30 plus shipping here or $35 from Arte Salon and Bigelow Chemists in Manhattan. Take a dab and rub it between your palms, then work it in back to front.Check it out, and let me know what you think!
It was clever TV programming last night to pit the guy-magnet movies “Old School” and “Saving Private Ryan” against the 82nd Annual Academy Awards. Although a lot of men are averse to watching awards shows, much can be learned from how the stars present themselves. Here are some interesting picks and the serious and not-so-serious messages they tell me as an Image Consultant.Wow, just wow. Ryan Reynolds looks relaxed and at ease in his monkey suit, something that’s not exactly easy to accomplish. His confidence absolutely shines through. Takeaway: own your look and people will notice...James Cameron shows his playful side with a haphazardly stuffed blue silk pocket square. The color and execution of this detail reflect his creativity and unpredictability. The matching of pocket square to wife #5’s dress is also unpredictable…er, unpredictably bad that is. Maybe it was meant as a gesture of solidarity with his incumbent spouse, especially with his stunning and stylish ex Kathryn Bigelow also up for numerous awards. Regardless, someone please tell him that the Oscars and prom are two very different scenes...In contrast to James Cameron’s fluffy pocket square look is Jake Gyllenhaal’s meticulously folded white one. From his neatly trimmed hair, eyebrows, and beard to his perfectly fastened bowtie, we see his understated sophistication and attention to detail. This is a guy who makes his bed every morning -- or at least tells his butler to...Style icon George Clooney is always dressed and coiffed impeccably, especially for awards shows. That’s why his hair cut fail is particularly surprising. The man actually has duck fuzz bordering on a mullet. The only rational explanation for this deviation from his usual elegance must be that he’s got an upcoming part in “Wayne’s World 3”. If that's not the case, I’m sure there are boatloads of ladies who would be more than happy to trim the back of his neck for him...While it’s old news that Robert Downey Jr. is an aggressive dresser, we really see how playful he is via this look. Of note: despite his apparent sneaker-wearing nonchalance, he does match his sunglass lenses to his bow-tie. Evidently there is method to the madness...Robin Thicke thinks outside the box with his velvet tux and calfskin loafers. It’s hard to do this with formal wear, which has so many hard and fast rules, but the talented Robin Thicke displays his imaginative but still refined clothing personality...Woody Harrelson…is down with world peace. ‘Nuff said.
The Grammy Awards are endlessly entertaining, of course for the performances, but also for the quirky statement-making ensembles the attendees wear. There was plenty of eccentricity this year, but here I'll be addressing the more conventional looks and what can be taken away from them for the purposes of everyday dressing..The Now That's a Classy Situation Award: Ryan SeacrestRyan Seacrest is understated elegance at its best. Black and white is a failsafe combo, and I love the straight edge pocket square. He looks amazing without appearing to have tried at all..The Not So Classy a Situation Award: Mike "The Situation" SorrentinoI'm a little disappointed with The Situation. Don't get me wrong, this outfit is a trainwreck in every sense of the word -- from shiny sleazesuit to chia pet 'do -- but it's really not as bad as I expected. I had my heart set on something along the lines of, oh say, an Ed Hardy tattoo print onesie. With tearaways. He still gets "Unclassiest" though because even on the red carpet, he's gotta flash the flesh. Gymtanlaundry, Gymtanlaundry!.The Best Mixing of Patterns Award: UsherUsher gets pattern-mixing just right with his dotted tie and checked shirt: he employed two different patterns in varying scales but maintained the same color scheme. However, he's got enough going on with the shirt and tie, that he'd have been better off keeping the suit a simple black, which also would have given his combo extra pop. He's bringing Bobby Ewing back with that khaki three-piece with white piping. Polka dots and Dallas menswear don't mix..The Squarest Dude in Crazytown Award: Stephen ColbertIn a sea of clashing prints,
and spooky preacher ties,this year's Grammy host keeps it business as usual with his sharp dark tux and grey tie. It's hard to think of Stephen Colbert as mainstream, but he's downright bland in tonight's company!.The My Razor Was Confiscated by Airline Security Award: Ringo StarrI'm all for scruff, especially in wintertime, but I wish Ringo had tapered the neckline of his beard before heading out tonight. Rather than shaving a straight line along the jawline, which feels self-conscious and faux thespian to me, he would have done better to have found a middle ground and tapered it down his neck using a beard trimmer. That way it would look groomed but still natural.
1. Hair product can tend to make your forehead shiny, so wash your face after application to avoid that lacquered look.2. If the weather is foul, and the party you’re going to isn’t dressy, try wearing a dark wash, slimmer cut pair of jeans with rugged boots. You can even roll your jeans up neatly as seen here:3. Be prepared for the occasional host who asks guests to remove shoes at the door by wearing dress socks that are in good repair – you could even try a pair of red or green ones (not both!) for subtly festive flavor. I like these which are on sale from J. Crew.4. Do keep your facial hair trimmed for holiday festivities. The only people allowed to have big furry beards are Santa and Randy Moss. When your facial hair brings to mind a certain fake beard from Jackass: Number Two…that’s a party fail.5. Make sure your hair isn’t greasy on the day of the party. You should be looking slick…your hair, not so much. If you’re unsure if it looks dirty or not, ask a female friend whom you trust to be straight with you.6. If you wear cologne, spritz once (or twice max) on your neck, then put the bottle down. While it’s true that in the wild animals are attracted to each other based on smell, less is more when it comes to people.7. No matter how festive you’re feeling, don’t wear any decorative ties, sweaters, etc. with things like reindeer or Santa on them. See #2 for how to add a dash of holiday spirit. If you absolutely cannot do without novelty clothing items, put them on a patient friend, like Robert.8. If you tend to have an everyday uniform like jeans and a t-shirt with a button-down thrown over it, try thinking outside the box for casual party wear. Pair one of your cool graphic t-shirts (no sports team tees please!) with a military cardigan and a nicely fitted pair of dark jeans.9. If you’re going to a party that calls for “black-tie optional”, and you don’t own a tux, instead of renting one that surely won’t fit right, another “option” would be to wear a black, navy or dark grey suit with a white shirt and a dark either plain or patterned tie.10. If you wear glasses, make sure the lenses are clean. Ladies want to see your handsome eyes, not the smudges on your glasses.
Many of my recent conversations with guys about menswear have turned to what to wear on your feet in sloppy winter weather. If you have nice shoes but are worried the slush/salt/rogue gifts from the neighborhood dogs lurking in the snow are going to ruin your gear, consider a pair of overshoes. Companies like Sierra Trading Post and Neos make boots that go over any kind of footwear you're wearing without having to pull and stretch on rubber like those creepy galoshes from back in the day. They're waterproof, warm and have high traction on the soles so you stay upright at all times. My favorites are the Explorersand Uptownersfrom Neos and the New England All-Season Overboots from Sierra Trading Post.If you're looking for something a little more streamlined, check out the Men's Executive Overshoe from Tingley.They aren't insulated, but they'll keep you dry and standing on your feet instead of your bottom. You gotta love the names companies give for men's shoes..."Uptowner" and "Executive" -- how subtle!And if you're just looking for rainwear that's not obnoxiously ugly, I am very into Tretorn's rain boots. I like both the green for a downtown look and the charcoal for something more conservative, or "uptown," if you will.So there you have it, my first post. Welcome, and please come back soon for more musings on men's styling!