A Guide to Stop Wearing Stupid Tees

Tee shirts are played out. There was a time when you had to look a certain way to fit into a certain group. That was middle & high school. Remember? You had to wear Polo & Tommy Hilfiger to fit in with the preps, DC to fit in with the skate/snowboarders, etc. Then you graduated high school & realized that people don’t always fit into the confines of their clothes. Back then tees had a very important role. You needed them to show others where you fit in. They were a quick orientation to who you were, so your classmates could know whether to avoid you or not.

As a grown man though they are not that useful. Let me tell you why:

chubby shirt

1. First off they are one of the most unflattering articles of clothing a man can wear. They hide nothing at the right size, notice above, this average guy shows a gut with a properly fitting tee. The other problem is that if you get a size up, they add much more mass, and look boxy. You basically have to be in great shape to look good in a tee.

stupid shirt

2. They can be stupid. My theory is to not wear any tee with words on it. As soon as I see a guy with a “funny” shirt on, I know he is a douche. I think with style people don’t get that you want people to be impressed by the way you dress. If your sense of humor is ‘shock value’ then say something shocking, don’t wear a stupid shirt to try to show what you find funny. If you want to be a nerd, wear nerdy glasses and nice clothes, don’t wear a shirt with a nerd joke on it.  If you rock baggy cargo sorts and a tee like the one above, everyone who sees you will know you are stuck in your frat-boy/womanizing party days and may be fun to have a couple of drinks with, & while girls with daddy-issues may appreciate their attention, once the sack-taps start you can count your friends minus this bro. When I see writing on a shirt, I only try to read it to find out how much of a tool the dude wearing it is.


3. Cartoon shirts. Don’t do it. Everyone likes cartoons. Everyone likes superheros. Wow, you like Batman? Let me guess, you liked the most recent trilogy best? Point made. Just don’t wear screen-printed tees, words or cartoons or pictures.


4. Band tees. Okay, please, don’t buy band shirts for tours you haven’t been to. It’s pretty obvious wearing a shirt like the above when you were born in the 80’s. Since the internet has ruined the music industry clothes no longer define what music people listen to (sorry 90’s). Since you had soccer mom’s singing along to “Go Shawty! It’s yo’ birfday!”, sagging your pants has never quite been the same (thanks Fiddy). With all the genre bending in music today, to try yo stay confined to one style is pretty close minded. The only band shirts you can get away with are obscure groups you have seen live, even then, these are only useful to lounge around and go grocery shopping with, not a staple in your wardrobe please.

Nike-Head-T-Shirtnike shirt

5. Sports/athletic shirts. There is nothing a shirt like the above can tell me about a person I can’t already deduce. If you wear it and are overweight, I know you like to watch sports and hate to play them. If you are in good shape & wear it, I know you like to be in good shape and workout. I could have come to those conclusions with a plain white tee. Keep it to actual sports games (live or home, not at the bar) and playing sports/being active/working out. When wearing them, choose something simple, like the pic on the right, not the left.

Here’s the thing: People are complex. If you dress yourself in a tee that puts you in a stereotype, you are only doing yourself a disservice. You don’t want to be fully stereotyped on sight by everyone you see. You want some mystery(think James Bond, Bruce Wayne), it attracts people to you & your personality. You don’t want people assuming who you are at first sight, that is a fashion fail.

What to do:


Take a hint from Ryan Gosling. He is wearing what is called a Henley. This has buttons on the neck of the shirt and is way classier than a tee. It also is better at hiding a little bit of belly chub.

Celebrity Sightings In New York City - August 9, 200742166c1605d4002c_joseph-gordon-levitt-05

Also, take a hint from JGL. Stripes & V-necks are great for tees, not screen-printed images that make it look like you are still in high school. If you were smart enough to graduate, you should know your style should’ve graduated too.

Henley, V-necks & stripes are the way to go casual.


The White-Under-Tee

I saw a friend of mine wear a white under tee, now normally I violently oppose this look & think all tees are overrated. But he pulled it off well.

I wondered why I liked it when he did it, but hated it all the many times I observed it before.

This look is pure laziness in its genus. But to remix the inherent laziness with a great look creates the effect of a godly, effortless style. And trust me, you want that.

Here’s what he did that you should do if you decide to pull off the white under tee:

1. Wear nice, dressy shoes. No sneakers/slippers/flip-flops or you will honestly look like a lazy bitch. No one likes a lazy bitch. Grow up.

2. Don’t actually wear your yellow pitted, crew-neck, 2-year-old undershirt that is in your drawer now. Go buy a nice fitting v-neck white shirt that people think is an undershirt with short-short sleeves. This way, everyone thinks you look that good getting dressed everyday.

Protip: The yellow pit stains in your shirts & undershirts are not yellow toxic bile constantly leaking out of your smelly pits. It is the metal in your deodorant. The aluminum is the antiperspirants that stops you from sweating & is in 99% of deodorants. It is bad for you and ruins your clothes. I recommend Tom’s of Maine, un-scented deodorant & while you will not smell like BO, you will sweat as much as you would without antiperspirants.  Also, aluminum in the body has been traced to alzheimers & cancer, so I don’t fux with antiperspirants.

Those are the only two real rules. Fun socks upgrade this look. Slacks and jeans both work with this.

Good luck looking lazy. I know it’s hard work.


Shop, don’t ship.

Okay, shopping ProTip: Don’t order clothes or shoes online. Remember, with clothes, fit is the most important factor & you MUST try everything on before buying it. Each company & each line of clothes in that company are going to have different cuts. If you think the waist size on your pants reflects actual inches, I will direct your attention to the chart below from The Style Blog:


Retail companies make sizes bigger to boost the self-esteem of the people buying it. Women have this worse than men, but it still exists for us. Why be ‘fat’ at H&M, when you could be ‘normal’ at Old Navy? But you’re still the same weight. Women, why buy a size 8, when you are a 4 at Banana Republic? It’s all in your head & that’s what marketing is and does.

So how do you know what size to get? Also in photo shoots & on mannequins, you see clothes you love & the fit seems great, but they are pinned in the back to make them look good. Investigate the mannequins at your favorite stores & you may be surprised at what you find.


Also, with just pictures, you can’t always tell the exact color or tint based on the lighting of the picture.

So don’t pay your hard-earned money for 1. Something you don’t know the size of. 2. Something you’ve only seen how sales and marketing want you to see it, not the actual product. 3. Something you have no idea how it will fit your body.

One time a company made a pin-stripe hoodie that I had to own, even though it was $160.00 & made in San Fran, so I had to order it online. I ordered one in small after looking at the size chart. When it finally arrived, it said ‘small,’ but was humongous! Like XXL huge. They made an XS but I knew that wouldn’t fit me with the size of the small, so I sent it back & got a refund, but still paid the shipping.

On a few occasions I had ordered things that never showed up! Then I had to call my bank to dispute the charges & while the money was fully refunded eventually, there is a big waste of time and energy.

While I love getting packages in the mail like anyone else, with clothes, it is not worth the hassle, & the online sales industry knows this so they are constantly trying to make it easier, but just don’t do it. It is too easy to settle for things you don’t really like & a waste of time, money & energy in most cases. Don’t gamble with your style & image, be sure.

You can always find something good in the city, I promise. Get a friend & go out and about. Try everything on, get feedback & only buy what you love. Plus this keeps more of your money in the local economy, which is good for the city.

Have your own online shopping horror stories? Wanna prove me wrong & defend online shopping? Share below:

Be a Rain-Ready Pdxer (And Look Good Doing It)

In Portland, we are known for the hood. Not necessarily Mt. Hood. And not the projects neither(RIP Pimp C). I’m talking about the hood that goes on your head. A smart pdxer always has his hood safely reclined on his shoulders like the top down on a rental from September through June. As soon as the first drip drops, he pops the top up before he decides to sally forth from awning to awning, puddle skipping through the city.

I swear the rain will come back. Global warming has been good to the Pacific NW, but once it stops holding the fall hostage we will remember what it is to be true pdxers. Rain haters will move back to their hometowns & part-time street kids move back into their parent’s house when the overcast and constant drizzle return. The rain keeps the city clean and only in the rainy months does Portland truly shine.

There is a saying I’ve always loved: “Don’t like the weather in Portland? Wait 10 minutes.” While one must be covered to stay dry in the rain, one must also not be drenched in sweat when the sun comes out 10 minutes later. So how do we handle this predicament? The answer is layers. There is also a question in style which is “How do we make this person look the best possible?” The answer to this question is also layers! This is actually a style aficionado’s best case scenario. One must become an expert layerer out of necessity for the Portland weather and out of the necessity to look great. Get your cardigans and sweaters ready because I’m going to help you figure out what to put over them as your top layer.

What not to do –

Don’t go and buy a $4-500.00 Columbia Sportswear or North Face winter coat with fleece removable liner that is rain, ice, sleet, snow proof. First off, fleece is WAY out of style for men, especially in Portland because, for no known reason to man or god, they can’t put a bird hood on it. Also, this is overkill for the city. If you go skiing or snowboarding, get a jacket specific to that. If you get one of these overkill jackets & all you can comfortably wear underneath is a tee-shirt, then you just shot yourself in the foot style-wise. Also, your fashion sense in other people’s eyes is now one winter coat for 7 months out of the year. You just shot yourself in your other foot. How does it feel to cripple yourself?

What you need – 


1. The first thing you need is a rain shell. This is literally a thin waterproof shell that will keep your top half 100% dry for days of harder rain. These are genius for layering. Since it is just a shell, you can wear whatever you want underneath and just put this on last and you are weather-ready. It is not warm but is wind-resistant, so make sure you layer enough if it is cold outside. I recommend going to the US Outdoor Store downtown on Broadway as they have lots of brands and everyone I’ve dealt with there has been awesome & very helpful. Not one ounce of Portland Hipster (“I’m too good to serve you”) Industry of Service & Tactlessness in the joint. Don’t get PHISTed (pronounced FIST’ed). Color-wise, go for gray, that way you can wear brown shoes as well as black & match almost anything to it. Even though it is a shell, get it as small as it can fit your body so you don’t look fat.

hoodie & blazer

2. ‘The Portland Mainstay’ is my nickname for the blazer plus hoodie. It’s classy meets inner city hustle. I remember watching the first season of Portlandia on my couch at home & Fred Armisen comes on-screen wearing the exact same thing as me, I didn’t know whether to be embarrassed or proud. The reason it is popular is because it works so well. It is the epitome of fashion and function. This is the right coverage for overcast days with drizzle off & on. On horrible days you can even put your shell from #1 over this. You have 6-8 pockets between the two articles & you don’t even need pants, for pockets at least. Also, as soon as you are in an office or friends house, you take both off & put the blazer back on & are totally comfortable for any indoor activity. Blazers at H&M are only $50-80.00 and fit well and look classy. Get the tightest fit even though you have to fit a hoodie on underneath, this isn’t time to forget fit. For the hoodie, you don’t want the super thick material. You want a nice small, slim, blank hoodie. No big baggy skate/snowboarder hoodies. All the color combinations are endless. I would try American Apparel for the blank hoodies, but they can be hard to find. Post any hints you may have on blank hoodies. I’ve found with a quick google search there are blazers with ‘built-in’ hoodies in them, this utterly violates this completely versitile, mix-&-match style statement.


3. The third must have is the trench. This is a very stylish jacket. This is a usually sophisticated jacket and in the right material will be rain proof. They usually come without hoods, but if the weather is bad you can always throw your hoodie on underneath like in #2 above. There are many styles & makes of trenches, you just have to find one you like that fits well & is worth the cost. It sounds so easy, but it’s not. Make sure you watch the width of the chest and waist when you try it on to ensure it fits. Check Banana Republic, Macy’s or the Rack for trenches.

Honorable Mention: the P-Coat. I love the P-Coat, but I don’t know where people get them. I have never found one worth buying. So if you know something I don’t please comment below.

Shoe Revolution PT. 2

Now that you know the 5 main categories of men’s footwear from Shoe Revolution PT. 1, you just need to know what to wear, when, where to get them & how to care for them.

What to Wear & When-

You need a minimum of 5 pairs of shoes:

1. Black Oxfords or Loafers

2. Brown Oxfords or Loafers

3. Sneakers

4. Flip-flops

5. Slippers

Brown & black for any formal or social situation. Sneakers to work out and run errands in. Flip-flops for beach, river or BBQ. Slippers for lounging. You can definitely have more for more specific hobbies, i.e. hiking boots, running shoes, but the above should be the minimum. This will make it so you are never under dressed.

I firmly believe any social situation (besides a backyard BBQ or trip to the beach/river) deserves a nice grown up pair of shoes. Think about this, even a modest example, you have a man wearing dark jeans and a V-neck shirt out to dinner. Now picture him with tennis shoes, what does he look like? A high-schooler? Maybe. A college kid? Probably. A man who doesn’t care? Definitely. Now think of the same guy with a pair of loafers or nice leather shoes, what does he look like? A grown-up! You may not believe me but that’s the way women see it.

Another problem men may have to buying nicer shoes, is that they aren’t comfortable. If you think that, you need to stop paying $50.00 for a pair of shoes. Nice shoes fit great & are super comfortable. Look at shoes as an investment, not ‘if these $50.00 shoes last 6 months, it will be a good deal.’ That is false, because you are not calculating loss of confidence, respect and care from yourself and others into that equation, which is important in a recession. You need to think ‘If I have 5 nice pair of shoes and take care of them all, they will all last much longer than 6 months and I will definitely look good for the next two years’ plus the immeasurable profit of high self-esteem & self-worth.

While the tradition of men’s footwear states that the simpler the shoes, the more formal, we Portlanders laugh in the face of tradition. The biggest fashion faux pas in Portland is, obviously, to conform. We don’t even use umbrella’s when it rains. The worst nightmare of a true Portlander is to look like a tourist in his own city. Tourists use umbrellas, so we don’t.

So here is how to not conform with shoes:  Instead of wearing Oxfords  to work or with a suit, try Loafers, mainly monk straps. Get Oxfords in a color besides brown or black to make them less formal. Instead of wearing sneakers to a bar, try Oxfords. They all go great with fun socks. These shoes will pair well with your jeans, chinos & khakis.

Outside of work, you can always find me in a pair of single or double monk strap shoes. And they never fail to impress.

Where to get Them-

There are 3 stores I love to shop for shoes in Portland.

The 1st is Nordstrom Rack. They are hit & miss & you have to do a lot of searching and trying on, but sometimes you can score there with big discounts. When a nice pair of $200.00 shoes are marked down to $120.00, it’s hard to say no.

2nd, Aldo in Pioneer Sq. Mall is a great place for cheaper very stylish shoes from $70-$90 with sales, you can also get some great deals here.

Johnny Soles downtown also has a good selection, I can always find something there I like. They have limited amounts and have nicer shoes so are more spendy, but locally owned which fills my Portland pride.

Honorable mention for Banana Republic, I have a pair of brown single monk straps and I love them, & I think they are coming out with a double soon, and you can get sales there too.


If you invest in new leather shoes and plan to run around town in them, puddle-skipping and such, I recommend going to Derek’s Shoe Repair and he can put toe & sole protectors on. This way the shoes won’t let water in and the toe will be protected for $28.00. Not always necessary for every shoe you get, but if you have made an investment in a more spendy pair, I highly recommend it.

Get your shoes shined. I go to Nordstom (sans Rack) to the shoe section and you can get your shoes shined like a boss for $5 (that includes tip, but make sure you have cash). You can also do it yourself if you want, I may get into that someday, but I don’t know how & there are tons of tutorials online to find out how to do it you can find if interested.

Shoe Revolution PT. 1

Men need a shoe revolution. Or dare I say evolution? I’ve read that most men can be happy in two pairs of shoes, but that is BS, those men have no idea what happiness is. Shoes make the man, it separates the boys from the men. Many of what are refered to by the layman as “dress shoes” are “shoes” from here on out, so don’t get it twisted. The sneakers you wear to the gym are not the shoes you should wear to a club, let alone to dinner with a date & god forbid a wedding. If you only have two pair, I can think of an easy five situations that will leave you looking like a Neanderthal. Now is the time when you throw out any pairs you own which resemble duck bills. Now is the time where you toss any shoe that mixes brown & black above the sole. Burn anything created by Steve Madden. Shoes should fit like any regular clothes: sleek, slim and form-fitting. You do not want big bulky shoes. They should also match what you wear above them, which is why I will never understand neon orange sneakers with purple, black & white trim, WTF do you match to that with? NOTE: If your answer to that rhetorical question is “tie-die,” do the world a favor and hang yourself… Okay, I just found out I’m pretty emotional about footwear. (Que: The More You Know theme music) (Que: G.I. Joe sound bite: Knowing is Half the Battle)

But on some real levels, men’s shoes is actually a very large, historic subject. There are many categories & sub categories of men’s shoes. I will try to simplify the subject for you. So lets just get into it.

First we will break down what I think can be the 5 main categories of shoes: Oxfords, Loafers, Sneakers, Boots & Sandals. Outside of genre-defying mash-up projects, all shoes can fit into one of these categories.

1. Oxfords


This is your standard formal shoe. See above, the Oxford is literally defined by the fact that the piece of leather with the eyelets is sewn into the vamp at the throat. See below.


Okay, now I know what you are thinking, & yes this shoe is very boring. But nonetheless, this is what people will expect you to wear to formal events around the world. Thank god we are in Portland, because we don’t conform to those rules.

Before we move ahead I would like to go over some terms in the first picture above:

Toe cap: the purpose of the toe cap is to minimize the wear & tear of the place where the shoe bends. I also believe it makes the shoes cheaper as you can patch them together with smaller pieces of leather.

Broguing: This is a design in the leather, either where two pieces meet or just in a flat area. See below, this is a toe-capped, Oxford with broguing. Officially, worldwide broguing makes the shoe less formal, but I think it makes it much more stylish, which means better.


Also, in the Oxford catagory, I have lumped in the Derby/Blucher. I put it in the same catagory as the single, literal difference is that the piece that the laces go into are not attached at the throat. See below.


This is a beautiful casual Blucher, notice it is not sewn into the vamp at the throat, the laces are open. Also on these are wing tips. That is the “W” piece at the front. If these were my shoes I would swap out the gray laces for a matching banana yellow set & these things would be perfect. Disclaimer: If you call these Oxfords, it’s okay with me, but if you do that at a shoe store you may have a sniveling hipster correct & laugh at you, as these two sets, Oxfords & Bluchers, are usually completely different categories. But I think they are so similar, they should be in the same category.

2. Loafers

Loafers are simply shoes without laces. These are my favorite and always have been. In the Loafers you have the Monk Strap, the most stylish, elegant shoe on the market now. See Below.


That is elegance! Traditionally less formal than anything in the Oxford category, I think these are the best shoes for any formal or social engagement. Straps are the rich man’s velcro, say “shoelaces are for chumps, but style is my forte” with these.

Other Loafers are defined by the stitching along the toes on the vamp, along with the shallow vamp. See Below.


These are considered less formal, but in Portland, that is a good thing. I’ve been rocking the Grandpa style with these tasselled loafers since 2003 (Yes, way before Macklemore). I believe tassels are a must on Loafers for Portlanders.

Also, you have the Penny Loafer in this category, but they are played out for now, especially because you can’t even put pennies in them anymore! But I’d give props to anyone with real pennies in their loafers.

Moccasins fall in this category too. They are a niche item, mainly taken over by slipper makers, but I’ve always wanted a pair of white moccasins or mock-moccasins.

3. Boots

This is not my style personally. I see people pull it off fantastically, but I’ll leave the street-kid-chic to others, I’m a grown up and want to look like one. So find a different blog if you are looking for boot advice, except this: Don’t wear hiking boots downtown, wear them on hikes.

4. Sneakers

This is not my specialty, but if you have running shoes, wear them running, basketball shoes are for basketball, etc. While there are nice sneakers, all in all they are overused by most men & mismatched dreadfully to the point of protest by me. Show me someone who thinks all their clothes match their one pair of sneakers & I will show you a colorblind. Break out of the box, wear shoes besides sneakers. But when getting sneakers try to keep it simple & clean. Your sneakers shouldn’t have more than 3 colors, and its main color should be a normal color, not hot- or neon- anything. Try the new Stan Smith ’14 next year, that’s a sneaker.


Never ever, ever wear mandals! Ever! Unless you are trying to kill the sex drive of all the woman around you while concurrently closing out yourself from the rest of the world by your so clear hate & disdain for yourself proven by your so obviously oblivious sense of style. If you have ever left your house in mandals, and are single, the reason why you are single is because you left your house in mandals. If you own mandals you honestly have some soul-searching to do, this is not sarcasm. With or without socks doesn’t matter, all mandals.

Flip-flops. This isn’t California (thank god) so keep the flip-flops at the beach, you live in Portland, you don’t surf.

If you really want sandals, go the Italian route, they know what’s up. But honestly, for summer, just get some sick loafers & some Goldbond & rock that shit sockless.

More to come in Part 2.


Fit comes first


The No.1 ProTip to all clothes is fit. I don’t care who you are, if you go get a suit second-hand and tailor it to your body, you will look better and more professional than 95% of men out there now. The biggest difference between the pages of GQ and real life is that every article of clothing in those pages fit the person wearing them. The 90’s are long gone, most rappers even get the tightest fit possible these days. Baggy jeans are out and will stay out, because you graduated high school long ago.

I think the main problem is  that America is overweight(btw, you probably found that out just by trying on clothes at a store). That fact, paired with corporations trying to make clothes anyone can ‘fit’ makes shopping much more interesting. These days you see ‘slim fit’ everywhere but even most of those are too baggy in my opinion.

You need to make sure everything you wear fits. The average man can drop 40 lbs. to the eye by getting a slimmer fit. Hint: if you need a belt to keep your pants up, they are too big! Pants should fit snugly around your waist with an ability to wear them without a belt and the legs of your pants should conform to the legs of your body. The next time you go shopping try getting pants a couple of sizes smaller than you’re used to and see how they fit, but remember, clothes don’t shrink anymore, they stretch, so don’t worry if they feel a little too snug. Hint: If you are ‘swimming’ in your clothes, they are too big! Hint: If the back of your shirt has a ‘sail'(excess build-up of fabrick) when tucked in, it is too big! If you are slim, you need flexible fabric and a hugging fit. If you are a larger man you need to re-evaluate your diet, get some exercise and wear slightly loose clothing, but don’t go too baggy or will add pounds, not hide them. I will let you know the best way to get the perfect fit:

1. Custom shirts – Brooks Brothers will take all of your measurements and make a dress shirt to fit you exactly, made in America too. The problem with this is it ranges from $160.00-$180.00 to get one. While it is probably worth the price it is not very economical.

2. Tailoring – Tailoring is awesome. Any suit you buy should be tailored. If someone tries to sell you a suit without tailoring, they don’t know what they are doing. Tailoring can be spendy but it is worth it for your finer garments. Also, find a recommended tailor, in Portland the best tailor I have found is Mike in Collier, he knows what he’s doing and has saved people I know from the botched tailoring of others. Regular pants and shirts should not be tailored as it is too easy to find the proper fit these days and tailoring tends to almost double the price for those items.

3. Finding the proper fit – This is easier than it seems. If you are slim the best place for slacks and different colored pants is the GAP, who has a true slim fit pant in lots of colors. Their pants are about $60.00 a pair, but always seem to be on sale. H&M has very slim pants too, but you can not choose the length, only the waist size, so it’s a score if you fit them automatically, but I don’t so I’ve never bought pants there, it’s not worth the tailoring in my opinion. But H&M has great fitting flexible button-up shirts in tons of styles ranging from $15-$35. They are not the highest quality, but do last well and are worth the $. Also, Express Men have great shirts in tons of different fits and colors, but are about $60/shirt and have some sales. For suits I’ll only go to Collier. Banana Republic is better for bigger guys, with shirts and pants, they don’t really have slim down to skinny yet.

The biggest trick is to TRY ON EVERYTHING. Try a size smaller than you think you are. Bring a fashionable friend when you go shopping, show them how it fits, get their opinion. I am also available as a personal stylist for a small fee.

You may not be like me, but I work for my body with diet and exercise, so why would I want clothes that make me look fat? I wouldn’t and neither should you. Also, if you are self-conscious, proper fitting clothes will help you feel better about yourself, but I also recommend a better diet and more exercise.

The Man’s Quilt



Check out these manly quilts. Only a genius could take a primarily feminine art dating back almost 5500 years and put such a spin on it that any modern man’s man would love to cuddle up with these blankets. Also useful for raising street cred while picnicking. Handmade right here in Portland by Drew Stefani, you can check out his website at drewstefani.com

Both quilts pictured are still for sale on his website. I think he does custom projects too.