Monday, November 26, 2012

Friendly Advice on a Low-Budget Watch

Last week, a friend asked for advice on making an inexpensive watch purchase. Given my own interest in watches, I did some (semi-) solid research to provide him an answer to help make an informed purchase. I figured I'd pass the info along, as it involves a common purchase for most stylish young guys.

Hey pal, (I do actually know my friends name, I just chose not to repeat it here. This isn't one of those awkward, "Heeeeeyyyy buddy..." situations where you don't remember someone's name, so you avoid using it entirely.)

In reply I thought I'd offer some more in-depth advice. I personally am really into watches, so I felt it'd be best to reply over email.

With most any purchase, you can break it down into a common numerical factor. The numerator can be thought of in many different terms: style, quality, heritage, brand image, etc. The denominator is price. Thus, you're always looking at a breakdown of how much style/quality/etc. you're getting at the price you're paying. You may know some people who focus on brand image, but most of us make our decisions based on quality. Are you getting a reasonable ratio of quality to price?

That being said, watches differ from most textiles because they're essentially machines that anyone can make relatively easily and cheaply. Calf leather from the Horween tannery in Chicago is a higher quality than bonded leather from say, Indonesia (no knocks on Indonesia, I just picked this country randomly. I GOT MAD LOVE FOR INDO-INDIANS!), but a Chinese watchmaker can make essentially the same watch, using the same components, as another watchmaker in Switzerland. Most watches will do their job (telling time) perfectly fine, whether you pay $50 or $5000. Watches are a much bigger game in brand image. (I realize I may be over-simplifying some aspects of watchmaking, but I'm not getting bogged down in the details here.)

From the reviews online that I read, Sturhling seems a good value. As StyleForum member kmdsimpson wrote, "My bottom line on these watches: if you are looking for a nice, high quality watch at the $100 price point, these are great values. If you expect these watches to be replacements for Omegas, Rolexes, etc., in all respects - style, quality, heritage, brand image - then you will be disappointed."

If you are interested in another brand at a similar price point to Sturhling, Seiko comes highly recommended, but essentially it's just another Chinese watch company. Here is a list of the Top 10 Poor Man's Watches, from Poor Man Watch Forum (may be worth looking into if you want to really research before buying).

If you are looking to seriously invest in a watch, I'd recommend saving up for something bigger and better. Again, I am into watches and used to have around six before my house was broken into. Now that I'm down to one, I've decided to save up and splurge on one notable watch that should last me a lifetime, rather than compulsively buying new, different ones. That's me though. If you're considering that route, here's a forum of private sellers (keep in mind the risks of buying from private sellers though). 

No matter what you go with, choose something smooth and elegant, with a clean face. Take this one, for example: 

Watches that you can see through, or ones with chronographs and moon calendars and periodic tables and such tend to cloud the face, which for lack of a better word, looks shitty.

One final note: don't dictate your decision on the watch band. Once you know the band's width in millimeters, you can buy a new one in almost any material and color, and you can just swap them out at home.

Good Luck,


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Decoding #Menswear and Decoding #Men

Seriously, did anyone else on the Internet see this posted Monday? It reads like my dad trying to decode a rap CD. First, probably because a lot of #menswear slang is swag-jacked (oooo, they missed that one, didn’t they?) straight outta rap music. And second, because as I assume Fashionista is written primarily for females, menswear is just as confusing to most girls as women’s fashion is confusing to most men. What is a bonnet? Why don't sun dresses involve actual suns? What is a bra? My bras and I go to brunch every Sunday, and I know not one of my boys is holding up boobies during a meal of pancakes and eggs benedict. To all the ladies out there, if your man ever mentions how much he’d love to cop a pair of super-dope-tastic-expialadocious dub monks with that buttery calfskin, just know you’re looking for something like this.

One love,


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Surviving My First Blogger's Event

Last week I had the distinct pleasure of being invited to attend a bloggers event at Halls Crown Center. I say distinct not in a sarcastic, snarky way, but because I think people consider me a “blogger” in the same way people consider William Hung a “musician.” To be validated by adults with real jobs was a real boost to my self-esteem, which has been tanking just as fast as my bank account lately. I had no idea what I was in for, so I grabbed my friend Bizi who was also invited, grabbed dinner, then strapped myself in. Here, for the first time ever, is an account of that night:

6:17 pm - the event started at 6. I only had one beer at dinner, but I think that’s enough to fake-drunk my way into (or is it out of?) being late. I am late 99% of the time, which ironically makes me better at being late because I’m getting good at coming up with excuses to explain my tardiness.

6:20 - walk in to a room with nearly 30 women seated, listening to another woman speak in front of them. I am now behind that woman. Awkward. I fumble my way to the back of the group, now realizing that I’m also the only guy here. Did my chances of getting laid tonight just sky-rocket, or will they think I’m gay? Time will tell. 

6:21 - just realized I missed any chance of snagging free alcohol before we get going. 

6:40 - we’re now off on a tour of the premises, firstly through women’s departments. I stand at the back, appearing cool and aloof, but really looking to peel off into a bathroom. That beer came back to bite me in the ass. 

6:50 - Ah, menswear! I now stand at the front, appearing cool and aloof. Nodding in silent approval, I gaze around and proceed to touch EVERYTHING. This is what bloggers do, right? I make Bizi take pictures for me because she has an iPhone and I still use payphones. Someone asks if we’re dating, but I reply that she’s my intern. YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE AN INTERN, DO YOU LADY? I definitely just impressed the shit out of everyone within earshot. Luckily, Bizi didn’t hear.

7:00 - another menswear department, this one more formal. Here they’re highlighting a tweed sport coat, commenting on how older trends like herringbone tweed are being revitalized by designers. Someone points out that I’m wearing a tweed jacket. I casually mention how I thrifted it in Dublin. Easily just became the coolest, most cultural person in the room. Either that or everyone thinks I’m an asshole. Where’s the wine again?

7:10 - I bounce back upstairs with the rest of the ladies, because you know I can’t pass up on odds like that. While they go over some more women’s stuff, I hit the wine bar for some liquid courage. Downed the first glass like it was a shot of Rumplemitz. Round two please!

7:25 - things appear to have settled down, which gives me a chance to mingle. This goes poorly. Back to the bar. Two? Make it three! I’m not driving.

7:30 - Back to the menswear departments to give them a real gander. A cute girl works in one section, but in typical form I do nothing about it. I will kick myself for this for the next week or so. 

In the more formal department, I talked with the salesman, a nice guy who seemed genuinely interested in my tweed jacket, so we chat over that. There was also some really great stuff from Polo Ralph Lauren that caught my eye too: cable knit sweaters, Fair Isle sweaters, quilted jackets, corduroys, wool ties etc. Good fall/winter shit. To make it seem like I have a semblance of real menswear knowledge, I feel the display sport coat and ask the salesman if he knows whether it’s fully canvassed or not. He says it’s unstructured. Shows how much I know.

7:45 - back up top. Grab my swag, grab Bizi, and head out the door. All jokes aside, it was a great event, and I was gracious to be invited to it. In an industry where I consider myself both and outsider and an amateur, it was gratifying to know that somewhere, someone takes me seriously (although I don’t know what that says about that person). Thanks again to Halls for putting it on, for the invite, and of course, for the gear. Next time you bros are downtown on a shopping spree, don’t forget Halls in Crown Center. Unfortunately they don't have much in the way of online shopping for guys, so I can't offer any links to particular pieces. But swing by in peron. If you do, return my wine glass for me.



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

How the Illuminati Runs Menswear

If you didn’t know, I’m in the Illuminati. That is to say, I’m applying for their much coveted internship. It’s a prestigious position, and a stepping stone to joining an exclusive and illustrious club, akin to being the fluffer for Yale’s Skull and Bones. As (expected to be) Social Media Intern for the Illuminati, I've started a PR campaign to slowly show the world our contributions to society. It's not all government cover-ups and assassinations here people. WE RUN THIS SHIT, end to end. If you're ever feeling truly helpless and alone, and if you feel the world is beyond your control, know that it is. We run the government. We run the press. We run the rap game. We run #menswear. Suck it peasants.


Eminem popped onto the scene with bleached hair, which was remarkable at the time because no male felt appropriate about dying his hair piss-yellow for no legitimate reason. BUT THEN DIDN'T YOU BEG YOUR MOM TO DYE YOUR HAIR BLONDE AFTER SEEING MARSHALL MATHERS? This “youthful” act attracted the “counterculture” of the hip-hop scene, which is to say white kids who weren’t entirely comfortable listening to rap in public. 


Kanye West is an enigma, and in my personal opinion, a closeted szzurp sipper. What else can explain his sartorial decisions? One day it’s well put together, like a #menswear Tumblr picture that’s been reposted 1000 times by guys in Brooklyn who are overly into blogs. On other days, it’s this. Dude raps hella good though, and he was the FIRST to essentially tell Taylor Swift to sit down and shut the fuck up. Ugly girls be cryin’ Taylor. Ugly girls. Remember that.


Oh, you didn’t know Dre was in the Illuminati? How do you think he went from this to this to this. The dude runs the West Coast, donned in all-black and a White Sox hat. And so begins the era of flat-billed hats with teams you have no association with.  Menswear is all about aesthetics.


What a tangled web we weave.
Speaking of all-black-everything, you best believe Jay-Z is in the Illuminati. That is the only logical explanation I can think of for how he is banging Beyonce (that and the money/rap career). All-black is the standard dress code for Illuminati meetings, which Jay SHOULDN’T have talked about, but he foots the bill for our paintball team-building, so I’ll let it slide. He also says he made the Yankee hat famous, but I feel like that was probably Babe Ruth. 


Cypress Hill is not in the Illuminati. 


It’s rumored (by lunatics) that Lil Wayne sold his soul to the devil in return for fame and fortune. I’m not sure if that’s true, but I do know that Weezy F. Baby (don’t forget the F, baby) popularized the over-tattoo-ification that’s strangled menswear streetstyle. The only way to ensure Scott Schuman will snap a pic of your tattoos is if you don’t give him the option. 


Know who came up with the idea that "black is a slimming color"? Take a guess. Chris also popularized newsboy caps, cementing his sartorial legacy.

SNOOP (insert animal)

Snoop Dogg was a member of the Illuminati, but his patented hair braids never caught on in the menswear realm. As a result, he renounced his faith, sold all his possessions, and became Snoop Lion, king of the concrete jungle. His music videos are no longer as cool as they once were. What we giveth, we taketh away.

That's all she wrote,