Can’t Buy Class, But You Can Wear It.

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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:

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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:

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Lose the Wallet Tumor. New FREE Minimalist Wallet!

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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.

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The Man’s Quilt

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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.