The Modern Day Barber Shop

barber pole

There’s been something missing from Men’s style for at least my whole lifetime, or this is Gen X’s best kept secret: The Barber Shop.

When I say that, you may think of really old guys smelling of disinfectant and lecturing about “kids these days” while giving the same haircut to everyone. I can’t even say that’s not the case with most. What I can say is that the art of the barber somehow seems to have gone over the head of Gen Y, probably because, of course, if your dad did it, it mos def was not cool. Damn you, teenage angst! Blame Don Draper or Macklemore or whoever, but people are starting to realize dad & grandpa did it right.

The barber is one of the oldest professions on record. In Rome, circa 300 BC, they were very prosperous, popular & were a community hub for news & gossip. Barbers then became the first dentists & surgeons in history with that being a part of their profession up until the fifteenth century. In fact, the barber pole, pictured above, is a symbol of bloodletting. Bloodletting was the “medical” procedure of trying to heal someone by cutting them and letting them bleed, or putting leeches on them to suck it out because they had too much blood compared to how much phlegm, black bile & yellow bile in their system. Now archaic, the whole purpose of the medical field at that time was regulating these 4 “humors” as they were called to also regulate man’s health & temperament. I’ve heard the symbol (which is only red, white & blue in the US, but just red & white everywhere else) represents bloody bandages wrapped around a white pole drying outside the establishment & the bowl on each side represents the bowl of leeches they may incorporate. But if you wanted a history lesson you should have downloaded a Podcast.

Allow me to introduce you the modern barbershop.

oak bbs

Oak Barbershop 833 SE Main St. Portland, OR 97214

One day I was looking somewhere for my BFF & I to get a haircut with straight-razor shave for an event we would be attending. I had to find a new place as the last trendy place I was getting my haircuts was okay, but I never would’ve trusted the bubbly stylists there to take a razor to my neck, my life is just that precious. So I was on Google trying to find the most reputable source to avoid a possible slit throat & I ran across Oak Barbershop. With a Google rating of 4.9 stars I had to check it out. Not one bad review in the bunch, all 5 stars. To quote their website, “We believe trends come & go, but style is timeless.” We’re all on the same page, so I used their simple online booking and made a pair of appointments.

As an interjection here, Gus & Kyle are booked pretty heavily & have a ton of repeat business, and by writing this I run the risk of waiting longer than I already do to get my hair cut at Oak, but I decided that it would be unfair to not share what to me is, easily, the best business in PDX.

Like a true Portlander’s establishment, it is just off the beaten path. You will be searching for a bit before you locate it, allow extra time on your 1st visit & make sure you scope the info on the website 1st. You walk into a small room with two chairs, two tattooed men & good music. There isn’t much space for anything else, but it is very cozy. It doesn’t matter what impression you get, because you will soon get the best cut of your life.

The thing both Gus and Kyle are amazing at is communication. When you tell them what you want they repeat it back to show they understand, they tell you what is possible and what isn’t, they don’t demand you choose a number for the length of your hair in the sides and back, etc. They know what will make you look good. Even though everyone now knows whats up with the cut, the communication still shines. The two barbers are some of the easiest, funniest guys to talk to. The entertainment factor alone is worth the cost of the service you receive. The cut and shave were phenomenal. This was the manliest pampering I’ve ever got & the price is less than the trendy spots.

I had to stop myself from writing about it at that point because it could have been a fluke. The real test of a haircut is how grows out. Sometimes you can leave looking good, but in a week look like a tool. This was not the case. I liked my hair for the next two months! I decided to go back before I write & I’m glad I did. Gus & Kyle remembered us and specifics of what we talked about and my last haircut.

The watchword for these two is precision. The theme is service. Something you want when it comes to your hair. After my last haircut I’ve gotten the most compliments ever on my hair. I had multiple people talking about it and asking me where I got it done. That is style.

I can honestly say I will never get my hair cut by another. I highly recommend for your next haircut to get your best friend, schedule appointments at the same time and go together.

You will look better.

When it comes to haircuts you have only a few other options:

1. DIY – Not Recommended

Pros: It’s free. Cons: Everyone knows you are cheap, lazy & don’t care about what you look like. Unless your are using your shaved head as a fashion statement?

2. Great/Super Clips/Cuts – No

Pros: None. Cons: Everything. Their hairstylists are told to do each haircut under 12 mins so they can make a profit. No self-respecting man would take his dead cells to get cropped at a place like this.

3. Rock ‘n’ Roll/Man Cave/Trendy Spots – Not Recommended

Pros: You have an estimated 80% chance of a good haircut. Cons: You know this place: “Here’s a drink! We know and like you. Check out the pretty girls who work here.” This is not inherently bad. But most of the people who work here went to cosmetology school, yeah, like make-up and hair dye shit. The owners know marketing gimmicks, most of their stylists don’t have the clipper or bowstaff skills of barbering. Your ear hair will not get trimmed, they don’t shave your neck hair with a razor, they don’t know what “keep the bangs long” means, your cut will come out looking good 80% of the time in my experience. Mostly they assign odd hours for their workers, so setting appointments for someone you have found you like can be difficult. Also, there seems to be a pretty quick turn around for a majority of stylists.

So that is that. Remember your hair says a lot about you. Make it look good, don’t just cover it up.

Advertisements

Weekly Cuts 02: Praise Saint Heron

Lately I’ve been all over the place with my music. I’ve delved into all kinds of stuff & haven’t even listened to most of it. I will show you my favorite music since the last post & a ton of free shit too. Let me know in the comments what you have been listening too.

saint-heron

Various Artists – Saint Heron

By far the best album release recently by Beyance’s indie little sis. Alt-R&B, or whatever-you-want-to-call-it, got a huge breath of fresh air with Solange’s compilation album of a dozen deep R&B cuts by some of the best out. This album sparkles from front to back with R&B gems that shine brighter with repeat listens. Solange’s “Cash In” ends the album as a simple & catchy love song with enough cow bell to please Will Farrell. Kelela is the only artist featured twice for a good reason & she kills it on “Go All Night” with what can only be perceived as effortlessness. Her mixtape CUT 4 ME is free here in exchange for your email address. BC Kingdom opens the album with “Lock Up” as an unapologetic homicidal maniac wielding a Golden Gun wearing Versace Versace out to kill his past lover. Or it’s a metaphor, either way, it paints a picture in my mind I like to look at.

Mapei – Don’t Wait

This is my jam. I could put this on toast all day. Mapei calls this “21st-century gospel or doo-wop.” I call it taking everything I like from every genre I like & adding a robot. She is signed with Downtown Records & has an album coming out next year. It is my most anticipated album of 2014.

Blood Orange – Chamakay & You’re Not Good Enough

I heard these two songs from Blood Orange & thought I found the album of the year, but the balance of the album isn’t that great after these two tracks. These two songs have pretty much been on repeat with my mind having to keep my body in check before it automatically bursts out into dance. “Chamakay” is a sad, hypnotic track of trying to love someone too much & “You’re Not Good Enough” is a funky dance party anthem of another not being good enough to love. The dichotomy alone is enough to keep me thinking.

Tinashe – Vulnerable ft. Travi$ Scott

Post Yeezus R&B. Post FKA Twigs. Postapocalyptic R&B. This would sound at home on the new Mad Max movie’s soundtrack, enough said. Free download.

Evian Christ – Salt Carousel

If you don’t know Evian Christ, you should. He is a producer from the UK whom usually heavily samples rap and loops it over & over. This track goes against that formula by only sampling a chipmunk getting its brains scrambled backwards & a guy yelling “GO!,” but still knocks. I have to confess, outside of a few artists, I usually can’t listen to albums by producers. This dude gets it though. Recently he produced my favorite Yeezus track “I’m in It” & if you don’t have his Kings & Them mixtape(free), click the link. Also track “Payo Rent” here for free.

Action Bronson & Party Supplies – Blue Chips 2 Mixtape

I haven’t even listened to this whole mixtape, but it is an instant classic. Chef turned MC Action Bronson is a short, white, fat Ghostface Killa. The production is fun, which is a breath of fresh air in hip-hop. Action’s cadence, flow & punchlines flow perfectly with Party Supplies’ production. Action is the blue-collar rapper, the only rapper I’ve heard bragging about his Saabs & Jeeps. This free mixtape can be downloaded here.

Can’t Buy Class, But You Can Wear It.

PatternedBowTies_1

Bow ties are an interesting piece of menswear. There aren’t many other items with such a large gap of social impressions on people who wear a bow tie. It is still the most formal article of clothing, oft denoting high society. While Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill & James Bond are all famous bow tiers, it is also notable that society also believes that bow ties are for nerds.

Whether one wishes to look like a clown, a college professor or classical musician, the bow tie only means one thing today for certain, which was best stated by Warren St John of The New York Times:  “The bow tie hints at intellectualism, real or feigned, and sometimes suggests technical acumen, perhaps because it is so hard to tie… But perhaps most of all, wearing a bow tie is a way of broadcasting an aggressive lack of concern for what other people think.” Today bow ties are designated to the renegades among us. Rogue Sophistication.

I would dare say the percentage of men who can tie a bow tie is below 5% of the american population. Even when a boy or man goes to prom or gets married, most rental bow ties are pre-tied faux-ties. Also, in menswear today the rule is a necktie is as formal as a bow tie. So just the fact that you show up in public with a tied bow on your neck shows your skill and sophistication is above many others’, even though a true gentleman would never say that out loud.

If you are feeling defiant (and any true Portlander should) then I suggest getting a bow tie, but realize you will be the center of attention and maybe even the but of a few jokes, but laugh along and know you can’t buy class, but you are wearing it. Wear to a bar, a party or dinner date no matter the dress code. This is MoFo P-Town boys, get your rebel on.

How to buy it:

I recommend to get started you should go to a store like Nordstrom Rack instead of going full price designer, they are only $15-20 there and have a good selection. I shouldn’t have to say “never get a faux-tie(pre-tied)” but I did just to make sure you don’t, that is a cop-out and the exact opposite of why one would wear a bow tie. You should get a smaller size, else risk looking clownish, but do make sure it fits your body size and type. Speaking of clownish: don’t get a neon, multicolored, glow-in-the-dark tie either; the fact of wearing a bow tie is the statement, not the bow tie itself, get it? Get a simple classy tie, less than 3 colors and simple design. I also recommend a reversible one, as it is two patterns in one tie. After you get deeper into it, you can go wild.

How to tie it:

HowToTieBowtie_VersionA

 

Haha, just kidding. Get your bow tie then YouTube it: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/04/12/how-to-tie-a-bow-tie-video/ This was my favorite of the videos I watched. Good luck, you will need it. It is like riding a bike so it should only be a one-time investment of your time.

How to wear it:

Obviously you have to wear it with a collared shirt, but you cannot wear it with just a collared shirt as it makes your shirt look completely bare, and nature abhors a vacuum. Minimally you will have to add suspenders. Preferably worn with a cardigan. Maximally with a blazer or suit. The best part about the bow tie is after 10pm (or your 4th drink, whichever comes first) you can undo your tie and top button to rock the Life of the Party look. See below:

SAMWEBBMARCUSOHLSSONNKCAMPAIGNSAMWEBBMARCUSOHLSSONNKCAMPAIGNSWEDISHDEPARTMENTSTOREMENSSTYLEBLOGUNDONEWEDDINGFORMALLOOKBOWTIESANDALS3

 

Weekly Cuts 01: Komodo Dragon Skin on a Letterman Jacket

Stevie Crooks – Cloud Captain (The Arrival) ft. Liym Courteous & Snazz Gordy

In rap you have to keep it real. But sometimes keeping it real is boring. Sometimes you need something fictitious and inventive. Fly away with the Cloud Captain on his pterodactyl with his komodo dragon skin letterman jacket, Siberian werewolf hoodie and boots made of penguins. Influences include Mortal Kombat, Dragonball Z, Avatar: The Last Airbender, etc. These three MCs obviously earned their letterman jackets for killing the rap game even though no one knows who they are. Stevie Crooks murders it on the 1st verse and the chorus, Liym Courteous is aight for the 2nd verse & then Snazz Gordy comes in for the 3rd verse with a flawless victory.

Sage The Gemini – Gas Pedal ft. Iamsu! (Salva Remix)

It’s a new Bay. Sorry Andre Nickatina, RIP Mac Dre. Sage The Gemini is tearing the Bay up with his catchy dance cuts for the youth. Salva’s remix gives it real substance for you to abuse substances to. If these horns, drums, snaps and claps don’t hit you at your core, nothing will. If your head isn’t bobbing your neck must be atrophied. Play at any party and grab the wall… Gas Pedal. Free Download.

DJ Class – Tear Da Club Up (Sam Tiba & Myd Remix)

If you aren’t familiar with Bodymore, Murdaland club music aka Bmore Club or just B-more, then the original song may have never crossed your path. But if you knew Diplo in his Florida days, before producing for Usher or 2 Chainz then you probably know why Scotty B runs Baltimore clubs. Scotty B’s label T&A paved the way for most of the mainstream club bangerz today, and is probably father to now-popular electronic trap music. This track is again an example of what the future should (read: wont) sound like. Lots of textures and vibes to enjoy on this track. Free download.

LIZ – Stop Me Cold

Speaking of Diplo, new off of his Mad Decent label is a single from LIZ. This track will throw you back into the 90’s and make you go dig up all your TLC and Aaliyah tapes. Free download if you like LIZ on FB.

Autre Ne Veut – On & On

This is an older one I accidentally left out of the last post. Autre Ne Veut is the new Prince/Artist Formerly Known As Prince/Prince. Not only that, but the dude has an insane sense of beats. Something is always happening in his music, if he’s not crooning the beat is going ape. ANV subscribes to the idea that the sounds/emotions of the singing are more important than the words you sing, the thoughts/feelings behind it are more important in the sound wave than the words themselves bouncing into your ear, and he forces me to agree wholeheartedly. Free download here, just find Autre Ne Veut on the left-hand side.

Ditch the Dad Jeans: A Man’s Guide to Blue Jeans

Jeans are an iconic american staple. Jeans and I have a funny history. As a kid I hated jeans and would only wear sweatpants. Then I found out I had to wear a pair of jeans for my school’s Grease-themed performance. I had no choice but to wear them. My mom took me to a second-hand store to get some. Through my silent protest I was trying on jeans and while my perceived denimless world was crumbling before me, I reached my hand in the pocket of the best pair I had tried on yet. I felt something in the pocket, something crumpled and paper-like. I pulled it out & it was an old $5 bill! I felt like It must be a sign from the gods! Denim and I belong together. I showed my mom the bill and tried to convince her to check the pockets of all the garments in the store, but she convinced me to keep the $5 and just go home. I wore the jeans out of the store.

Since that point I have always had jeans. But I don’t wear jeans as often as most. I prefer slacks, but dark jeans are pretty versatile. Even my best friend was surprised to find out I only own one pair of jeans. Whenever I buy a new pair of jeans I like them way more than my old, too worn, too stretched pair. They always fit way better and look much nicer. Right now I have one pair of dirty wash jeans and they are dark enough to look good dressed up or down.

Dad Jeans is what not to do:

dad jeans

I will try to help you avoid buying or wearing them, just follow my blue jeans guide and go from lame to GQ easily:

dad compare

History

The word “denim” comes from the name of a fabric that was first made in the city of Nîmes, France. It was originally called serge de Nîmes but the name was soon shortened to de Nim or “denim.” Denim has been used in the United States since the late 18th century. Denim was traditionally colored blue with indigo dye to make blue jeans, although “jean” formerly denoted a different, lighter, cotton fabric. The contemporary use of the word “jean” comes from the French word for Genoa, Italy (Gênes in French), where the first denim trousers were made.

Jeans and denim started as a workman’s uniform essentially. Cowboys, factory workers and gold miners loved its durability on the job. In the 30’s a lot of cowboy movies depicted cowboys in denim and this is where popularity initially set forward fashion-wise for jeans. In the 40’s less jeans were produced for consumers due to WWII, but soldiers would wear their denim off-duty due to the comfort. After the war in the 50’s James Dean played the leading role in a movie called “Rebel Without A Cause” in jeans, which skyrocketed youth and “greaser” rebels to don the denim. Jeans stayed popular to teens and rebels in the 60’s and 70’s following along with the fashions in those decades. In the 80’s denim became designer. In the 90’s jeans were not as popular, as the parents of now-teens were still wearing jeans, so their children didn’t want to look like their parents and opted for other pant styles or very different jeans(JNCO’s anyone?).

What are Jeans?

Jeans are made of two fabrics, in a twill formation (diagonal stitching) with the outside dyed indigo and the inside usually white. Look at the inside of your jeans, they are a different color. This is what causes the fading you see in jeans. It is the indigo wearing out and more closely matching the inside fabric.

Now comes the “Wash.” Besides raw denim, all jeans are washed after they are dyed, and before they are sold. Raw denim has not been washed (My next pair of jeans will be raw denim and I will dedicate a complete post to that). “Stone Washed” is where the jeans are washed with stones (or more likely chemicals today) to make them look faded before they’ve ever been used. “Acid Washed” is what looks bleached, and is washed with chemicals. “Dirty Washed” is where the 2nd fabric is darker, usually a brown or a copper, so when the pants fade, they fade into a “dirty” color, as opposed to white. “Distressed” is where fake holes and wear and tear are made into the jeans.

Today

Today the market for jeans is huge. Americans bought $13.8 billion USD of men’s and women’s jeans in the year ended April 30, 2011, according to market-research firm NPD Group. I would even say the market is flooded with jeans. Any store has about 30 options of jeans to choose from including different cuts and washes. It is overwhelming to go anywhere to try to pic out a pair of jeans. So I will help you find the best pair of jeans for you.

1. The first thing to do is find your prefered fit, to do that read Pants 101 as it is covered there. I will reiterate here that the jeans you try on should be snug in the fitting room as today clothes stretch, not shrink. So try sizes smaller than you think you are and realize they will stretch one size up.

2. Now you know your cut, it’s time for colors. Remember this is just about blue jeans, but the shades run the gamut. I recommend the darkest blue they have. Darker blue jeans are more formal and go well with a tee, button up, or dress shirt. Also, your brown loafers will look killer with them. Also, a dirty wash will cause them to stay darker longer.

3. Now find the most snug fitting pair and you are good to go. See it’s easier than you thought!

What to avoid:

While we are trying to do the opposite of Dad Jeans, there is taking it too far or too “designer.” Remember with jeans you want simple but nice. Any design or originality should only be in the details, not plastered all over your trousers.

distress

1. Distressed – While jeans are meant to be worn out and eventually ripped to shreds, you are ripping yourself off by buying them that way. These are easy to see through not only because of the holes, but because of their placement too. If you’ve ever worn a pair of jeans till death, you would know that they wear out at the bottom of the front and back pockets until only the side and in seams end up holding them up, until they break and you are left with your favorite pants transformed into coochie-cutters. All I’m saying is: earn your stripes, don’t buy them. Plus, if one other person you know owns the same pair of distressed pants, you’ve been made and your pants made redundant.

butt design

2. Butt designs – I would only hope this is a given, but any design on your jeans is not for you. Designs on jeans are tacky and prove you are trying too hard, but instead of being creative, you try to buy your creativity. Above that, butt designs are for women. I guess it works if you are trying to show your ass off, but even then I would hope you could be subtle about it. Just leave all designs on jeans to women, real men wear real jeans. But if your goal is to cross-dress, get these!

BCS

Past Cuts: Music to Hear

With today’s violently changed music industry from only 15 years prior, it’s hard to know what music is good and who to look out for in the industry. Do you enjoy the mainstream and what they force feed us? Or do you spend all your time on blogs to find the best indie? It’s even harder to find good music that other people know about. I usually I find a new song I love every week and blast it until my ears bleed or I get tired of it. The problem is that I find a song I love and play it at my next possible social outing, but no one knows the song! So here are some of the weekly cuts/jams/bangers/hits from my recent past that I still constantly bump. Ordered from past to present. I will try to post my weekly cut from here on out, so we can all be on the same page.

Shlohmo – Bo Peep (Do U Right) ft. Jeremih

This is what R’n’B should sound like today, not that date-rapey dude that normally finishes off the week. This is Bringing Sexy Back 2013. Pray they make an album together, until that day probably never comes you have a free download of this song. Play in the bedroom or any low-lit dance party.

Twin Shadow – Old Love / New Love

I love Twin Shadow. This song is on the GTA V soundtrack. He is usually known for his 80’s synth cuts, but this time left the synth out and this is more reminiscent of 90’s club heartbreak banger. I can picture Steve & Doug Butabi force grinding some chick at the Roxbury to this shit.

ScHoolboy Q – Collard Greens ft. Kendrick Lamar

The first time I heard this song I didn’t really like it. Half of the song, including the chorus, is pretty much gibberish, but ScHoolboy Q just has a musicality that I really like. This song has been stuck in my head for weeks now. His debut album Oxymoron is busy being delayed, so hopefully it will come out while he is still relevent.

Migos – Versace (Remix) ft. Drake

Drake kills this track, which almost never happens. This is that ignant shit you bump hard even though you own no Versace, Versace. This one’s also free.

Movement – Us (Giraffage Remix)

This is an interesting track. I checked out Movement’s album as it seemed to have all the right ingredients, but it just didn’t mesh for me. He takes the original introverted, lonely track and morphs it into an upbeat dance track. This is just proof Giraffage should have produced and mixed the whole album.

Can A Man Be Overdressed?

A man has to make sure he looks good in every social situation he throws or attends. While a man may always try to look good, there is one factor that will trounce him every single time. This is the fact of being underdressed. Nothing takes the wind out of one’s sails faster than being the only person wearing jeans at a gathering. Sneakers at a wedding. Your designer tee is a sad tee among collars. I’m sure everyone has been through it. In my tweens I was emotionally scarred by wearing nylon pants to a wedding because I didn’t have slacks. The feeling of everyone staring, judging & causing you to want to hide as you have convinced yourself you are a vacuum of negative attention. Being underdressed has definite negative effects. I vowed then to never be underdressed again.

All men know how dumb it feels to be underdressed, but lets look at the opposite end of the spectrum: Can a man be overdressed?

Oscar Wilde said: “You can never be overdressed or overeducated”

Clothier Levenson Rodriguez said: “There’s no such thing as being overdressed… it just so happened that everyone around me is underdressed.”

I fully agree with the above quotes. I would like to assure you that there is no such thing as being overdressed. The biggest problem, in my opinion, with men not dressing fancy is that they don’t know how to. I recommend you find out if you don’t already know. Society has become very underdressed overall from people rebelling against the uptight norm starting in the 70’s and coming up to present time, but now it has almost done a complete reversion. Society is too casual and lazy, so today, to rebel, one has to dress nicely to disagree with the can’t-do attitude that has especially set in since the recession, unless of course, one prefers to look like a street kid, drug addict or welfare case.

If you are overdressed you get complimented. If you are underdressed you get shunned. One thing dressing nicely communicates is that you know what you are doing and are confident, you don’t even have to act confident. The opposite shows you don’t know what you are doing.

Now some will say you can’t wear a tuxedo to a rock concert. I would respond by telling you to please use judgement and common sense in life with every rule you come across. But I would also argue that if you wore combat boots and skull cufflinks with the tuxedo to said concert, you would be the best dressed there and to some degree appropriately dressed too.

 

By dressing up in situations where you don’t have to, you create the allure of mystery. You will make others will feel underdressed, hopefully causing them to step up their game. They will wonder where you came from before you are presently. They will wonder where you are going after you leave where you are now. This is literally how you dress to impress. If underdressing is how you become the negative center of attention, then overdressing is how you become the positive center of attention.

Wear a tie to a bar, slacks to your friend’s birthday party, a bow-tie bowling. Try overdressing to see what happens, I promise you will like the results. Just make sure you have good responses ready for inquisitive minds.

BCS

Lose the Wallet Tumor. New FREE Minimalist Wallet!

62025338_c3877fba16_o

Some men suffer from a disease called “Wallet Tumor.” The picture above is an extreme example, with even what seems to be whole letters in his wallet. I believe most men need to cut way down. Today a well-dressed man is marked by the exact fit of his clothes, so to then go and stick a wallet the size of a tennis ball in any of your pockets is obviously counterproductive. In a mostly materialistic country, somehow Eastern beliefs have infiltrated Portland to the tune of ‘less is more’ and this is a very important principle for your wallet.

I’m sure every man has been at a convenience store with a long line and you are right in the middle of it. There is an acne-ridden metalhead behind the counter rocking out, trying to get through his shift without a care in the world, especially how slow the line is moving. As you spend the next 5 minutes really questioning if you need a Red Bull, Clif Bar and Twizzlers because you skipped lunch earlier, but you decide to stay in line because you’ve already invested 5 minutes that would be completely lost with nothing to show for if you left now. Check Facebook to kill time. Now it’s your turn! you put your purchase on the counter and have your wallet out and hand the clerk a crisp $10 bill. Seems simple enough. He hands you the bag. Now you have your purchase in your left hand and your wallet still in your right hand. Now this clerk with his disdain for the motivated business man holds out your three $1 bills with a receipt on top, then the change on top of that like you were fortunate enough to be dropped in toxic waste as a baby and  grew a third arm. Now it’s crunch time. You have 10 angry customers behind you shooting imaginary lasers from their eyes into the back of your head hoping you get an aneurism and die instantly so they can get on with their lives. Now what? You have to put your purchase down, but after that do you shove the whole mess in your wallet; change, receipt and all? Do you take your time, put the change in your pocket, receipt in the bag & cash properly placed in the wallet and then get out of the way? One thing is for sure, for that whole duration, you most certainly are the most awkward person in the store.

To me, the above is a lose-lose-lose situation. That’s never how a man conducts himself. Nervous, fumbling, etc. It’s time to simplify your complex(but somehow, still boring) wallet game.

Please realize wallets have almost been made redundant by smartphones. I remember when all wallets came with photo sheets. Who has photos in their wallet anymore? Remember when people had lists of phone numbers in wallets? Me too. So it makes sense why men used wallets and why they were so important in the past. But now they just waste space. Soon Google and your smart phone will be your whole wallet, including your ID and debit/credit cards, but for this transition period, please follow my instructions below to thin out your wallet.

Follow along with me to thin out your wallet:

1. Pull out your wallet (Yes, right now.)

2. Separate the contents. All business cards in a stack, all cash in a stack, etc.

3. Set Driver’s Licence/ID, main checking account debit card & all cash to one side.

4. Credit Cards/Secondary Debit Cards: Keep these at home. This will save you $. This will curb 95% of impulse buying and lower any buyers remorse you may get. If there is something you “must own” and can only afford it with credit then you can put the item on hold and come back for it. This will give you more time to think about the purchase and to discover if you really do need and want it.

5. Business Cards: Either save all the data in your phone contacts or just take a picture of it. Or just toss the vacuum cleaner repair man’s card, because if your vacuum broke, we both know it’s not worth repairing.

6. Punch Cards/Gift Cards: No one can deny the power of a punch card, that is a fact. I fully support punch cards. But there is probably a certain predictable circumstance before any punch you ever get. If it is a coffee shop you only go to when you are at work, then keep it in you desk drawer. Same with your favorite lunch spots, if they even have a punch system. A drive through coffee shop’s card can stay in the car. Your favorite dinner place can be kept in the car for take out, or home for nights out. Same with gift cards, keep them where you know you will have access before you go. The trick is tracing back to that predictable circumstance and using it to your advantage.

7. Receipts: I honestly don’t get why people save receipts. I get saving a receipt for a bigger purchase, but I see some guys put every single receipt they get into their wallet, from lunch to coffee, etc. The next time I see someone doing this I will ask them, but it must have something to do with taxes or some serious OCD banking system they have. It is unnecessary. If you want to be able to track and always remember where your money is going, get MINT. This is an awesome, completely free app for IPhone or Android and you can track all your spending, make budgets, completely slaughter your budgets and wonder why you ever thought you could spend that little in the fist place… all in one convenient app. If it is for taxes, I will tell you what to do in my system below.

8. Change: Change never goes in a wallet. What the fuck? I hope you are kidding. Why do you even have change? Change belongs in tip jars. Stop being petty. Seriously, stop. If for whatever reason you find change in your pocket, you need to ditch it as soon as possible in a tip jar, desk drawer or piggy bank. If you walk around town with change clanking in your pants you sound cheap. Also, you become ‘Bum Bait’ because bums can hear that change clanking from a mile away!

8. Other: You don’t need business-card-size floss. You don’t need a business-card-size lock picking kit. Your AAA card can stay in your car dashboard & you can take a picture of it for your Member ID or phone number. Same with your health insurance card and so on and so forth. I hope you get the point. You don’t need to sit on your Regal Cinema Rewards Card every single day because you see a movie once a month. When was the last time you went to the library? Was it an impulse or planned? I’m sure you understand by now.

Still with me? Now you have what you actually need on a daily basis: 1. DL/ID, Main Debit Card, Cash (optional really, but smart to have for VooDoo or food carts or small purchases at corner stores). This is your new wallet! Minimalism at it’s finest!

How to use it: Most pants that are nicer than jeans (slacks, chinos, khakis etc.) have a mini pocket in the front right pocket. I’ve always known this as a change compartment to stop your change from jingling, but upon internet research it turns out no one knows what it is really for or what it is called. Old people think it’s for a pocket watch. But this pocket is perfect for your ID & Debit Card. They slide right in and out easily so you always know where they are and can get them in and out of your pocket easily. Then, in the rest of your pocket you just take your cash, fold it in half and put it in. This always leads to a smooth interaction no matter how you pay. No more juggling after your purchase. No awkward fumbling of your possessions. No cramming everything in your wallet to reorganize in two minutes. That is a chump’s game.

You walk up and pull out either cash or debit, if they ask you if you want a receipt say “No, thanks.” If they just hand you the receipt ask them to toss it for you. Now slide your debit card back into the compartmented pocket. If it was cash, then drop all change in jar, fold & pocket. If you get a receipt you must keep, this goes in your back right pocket or the bag until you can file it at home.

It is too simple. It’s so simple that people will swear it doesn’t work. But it does. It even works in jeans without the compartment, you can even use the fifth pocket as the compartment, but it doesn’t really work as well as just having all three items in your pocket.

BCS

For Nay-Sayers:

If you honestly believe you need a wallet, you are wrong (see above). But here are some rules to help you if you are so solidified into the past that you can’t see the present.

1. If you MUST have a wallet you have to get a zero fold wallet. No bi-fold, no tri-fold. Called a card wallet usually, this doesn’t have velcro, zippers or any other useless, bulky or childish features.

2. Please consider just a money clip. Still overkill in my book, but better than a wallet. At least you can find a cool stylish one.

3. Never keep your wallet(if you are a lame and still have one) in your back pocket. This is really bad for your back. Your front right pocket is your wallet pocket.

Related articles

Pants for Muscular Men (Pants 101 amended)

In relation to my last post I had a friend text me: “…try having fashion applicable to men that have actual muscle mass. Skinny cut pants aren’t possible for real men [whose] thighs are twice as big as their calf”

For starters, I would argue that a real man is not measured in muscles, just as I would argue that a real man is not measured by his penis size or bank account. I would personally measure a man by his decency, support & honesty to others, along with an ability to keep a cool head in any situation and never lose his temper. I may be old-fashioned in this regard. But in the quest to prove oneself as a real man, in my opinion, the constant dedication, discipline & persistence on the given course to get jacked is as close of an indicator of a real man as one can get. Along with one’s zealousness for protein shakes and abhorrence for empty calories in the pursuit of getting shredded, one must know how to wear the right clothes to show off what you got.

One thing is for sure thogh, my friend was right. It is hard for a muscular man to dress properly with a narrow waist & strong thighs. The solution for this is to find a pair of pants in the Relaxed category that fit well in the thigh and on the gluts first, despite the oversized waist and baggy shins. For Jeans you will want them tight on the thigh as they will stretch, and Khakis/Slacks with more of an exact fit. Now, you have to make custom form-fitting pants, so take them to a tailor to get the waist properly fitted along with the legs tapered from the thigh down to the ankle. With Khakis/Slacks you want a Small or No Break on the length because any extra fabric at the bottom makes this body size look more short than muscular. For Jeans you can have them a little longer on the break if you want to roll them up, but I would still just recommend a small break still and a half-inch turn when you want to roll them up.

The idea from my last post stands true, jocks just have to customize their pants to get the waist and taper correct. This can be inexpensive if you get cheaper pants, but you might want to spurge on the tailor & find one who is recommended by other muscular men. My favorite tailor in Pdx is Mike, The Tailor, he works in the back of Collier (615 SW Broadway ave. Suite 103) & even though I don’t know his experience in this area, he can probably take care of you.

For your first couple of trips to the tailor I would recommend getting fully refundable pants or cheap thrift shop pants to make sure the tailor can do the alterations you want for the price you want to pay.

I hope this helps.

For future reference to anyone who has questions/comments/concerns/complaints you can post it here on my blog under the comments section, email me, Tweet or FB me. Others may have the same questions or may have good advice for you too.

BCS

Pants 101

Gentlemen,

Pants are useful for many reasons, and in Portland, men need them for at least 10 months out of the year. Whether work or play, you are going to want to look good wearing them.

Today, let’s go over some basics on Men’s pants. For the sake of simplicity I’m going to break trousers down into three categories:

1. Slacks – These are your dress pants, suit pants, formal wear, etc.

2. Khakis – These are the less formal khakis, chinos, etc.

3. Jeans – You probably know what these are.

Everything else is specialized. Carharts stay on the job site, pajama pants stay in the home, hiking pants stay on the trail.

Step #1: Choose flat-front pants over pleated.

Pleated-Pants

Never ever, ever wear pleats. Pleats are outdated. The idea behind them is that men need more room and flexibility in their crotch and with the pockets. That was fine when they were popular from the 20s through the 90’s, mainly because fabric was not as flexible then. But now there is no excuse! If you want to wear pants in which you could smuggle drugs or kittens across a border, these are what I would recommend. They come with a giant crotch-void only good for adding 40 lbs to your frame or smuggling. Also the pleats push the fabric out further from the waist, adding weight to the legs all the way down the ankle. The 90’s are alive in Portland but most of us ditched the pleats long ago. You can barely find these in stores anymore, but older more traditional men will swear by pleats. Businessmen are baggier than gangsters these days and that is just weird.

Common pro-pleat myths:

“Pleats help the crease on the legs fall smother” Possibly true, but moot as the crease is a minor worry when you’re adding optical fat to your body.

“Pleats make bigger men look thinner” False, you may be ‘hiding’ fat, i.e. you can’t see what is the fat or just super baggy fabric, but if put in slimmed down flat-fronts the same man would get compliments for looking thinner. The baggier your clothes, the fatter you look.

“Pleats give my penis more room, as I cannot fit them in flat-fronts” (Real argument I’ve heard) False, don’t lie. People usually only try to hide what they don’t have (Push-up bra ring a bell?).

I’m sure someday pleated pants will come back as some ironic fashion statement, but even then I will be grimacing and scoffing in my flat-front pants.

Step #2: Choose your cut.

There are 4 main cuts these days in all three categories of pants:

Relaxed: These are loose, baggy pants. Just don’t do it. You live in Portland, there is literally a 1 in a million chance you are a gangster rapper. Even if you are a fan of gangster rap, dress like A$AP Rocky, not Snoop Dog[Lion]. If there is one thing to take away from this post, it’s to slim up your clothes. My general rule is to not have enough extra fabric on my body to dress a starving African child, because that’s just fucking selfish. So this is a no in all 3 above categories.

Straight(Boot Cut): This cut is the same from the thigh down to the ankle, no taper. Unless you are a stick figure, your ankles are thinner than your thighs. Don’t wear these unless you are wearing boots. Yes only in Jeans, with boots

Slim: This is what you should go for. Anyone can pull this off, it’s just a different name for tapered & because your legs are tapered, this looks good on anyone. Even if you don’t consider yourself slim, try them on, because most brands err on the side of not slim enough. What you really want is anything with “Tailored” in the name of the cut, i.e. Tailored Slim. If they actually fit & look like they were tailored to your body then you win at life. You will look pro without having to pay a tailor to do it! Fully acceptable and highly recommended in all 3 above.

Skinny: You probably already know if you can pull off this cut. This is not acceptable in Slacks usually, but this is Portland & we’re all already oxymorons in one way or another, so I say go for it! Show those chicks what you’re working with!

Step #3: Put the breaks on your breaks!

PantsFit_Breaks

The break on your pants is how the fabric lands on the top of your shoes. The break depends on the pants you wear, but also the shoes you wear with them.

Full/Large Break: This or any pile of pant leg resting on one’s shoe is your first clue of a cluelessly dressed man. Think of the African children and tighten it up boys. This break is never acceptable in Slacks & to me only acceptable in Khaki or Jeans if rolled up(turning it into No Break).

Half/Medium Break: This is the conservative industry standard. All of Congress & any CEO over the age of 35 is sporting this break. So obviously it’s boring, not recommended unless running for office.

Quarter/Small Break: More stylish & tailored look. Highly recommended if you want to look better than others, with no one able to put their finger on why. Also, this will not cause any ripples with bosses or conservatives.

No Break/Rise: This is the one I go for. It is the most fashion-forward. People will stare, comment, perhaps even make fun if they are intimidated by your prowess. This today is urbane defined, and the only way to wear your pants if you want to make moves outside of walking. Careful on this one, like liquor, a little goes a long way. It’s called a Rise, not highwaters. This shows off the shoes and socks without having to sit down. You must have slim or skinny cuts to pull this off. Ankle is the businessman’s cleavage. Wear it well. Better picture below.

3