Styling The Man

My number one goose chase

Succulent Goose FleshVertically dense, Hong Kong remains a financial hub of global impact. Adventure abounds in its history: Kowloon Bay teems with great tales as one takes in the panorama of vessels afloat. It’s skyline is an amazing cobble of sleek glass towers, colonial British structures, beautiful pagodas and other traditional structures.

Which is all well and good. But Hong Kong is also one of the world’s greatest food cities and, I have come on an adventure, into the magnitude of Cantonese culinary bounty. I come for goose, precisely spiced, crispy skinned, luxuriously fatted, and the succulent dark tender flesh within. On this, my premier excursion to Hong Kong, a dear friend living here had sworn by the roasted goose at Yue Kee, one of the few restaurants since the 50s, still using charcoal ovens to cook their goose. No pun intended. I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into some of this famously juicy meat.

I touched down in Hong Kong and I was salivating like a cartoon coyote. I boarded the airport express, and was on my way, taking in the bustling sceneries, and vibrancy of this energetic city embraced by the surrounding beautiful emerald-green mountains. Once settled into Yue Kee, we started the evening’s pleasure over a soothing cup of Maofeng tea of the Yellow mountains, followed by a nice fruity white from the riesling collection, a fine one to encourage the appetite to acts of bravado. Yue Kee’s customer base is a great mix of locals and enthusiastic world travelers. The decor was a template for many familiar restaurants in San Francisco, Queens and others throughout the globe.  I had only eyes and the palate for goose. Ok, we’ll do the deep-fried squid with spiced salt and soy sauce goose intestines. Tasty, I know. And, yes a little palate balancing with something green. One came steamed to a verdant perfection, the other had spent but a blink of an eye tossed in a sheer veil of roasted sesame oil. All this accompanied by steamed white mountains of fluffy rice, which was to me the epitome of Cantonese snacking. And one of the best meals I ever had.

In the evening we took a drive. The sun had eased behind those lush green mountains, but the heat and frenetic bustle buzzed on. Driving towards Victoria Peak, we were soothed by fresher, cooler air, as we made our way up along the winding roads. Once atop the glorious Victoria Peak, the view over-looking the entire city, stretching to infinity and beyond simply takes the breath away.

 

A tip of the hat

Sean Crowley ©Styling The Man
A handsome topper makes nearly every man look like a protege of George Raft.  A snappy dresser, dapper.

Hats are marks of distinction; they can add an element of character of the wearer. Think Indians Jones and his hat. They’d be no hero there without the hat. The hero is always the one with the hat, riding up in the nick of time. Bear in mind, a good position is everything. Therefore you should rock it at an angle. Whether your face is long, square, round, or a combination, when properly angled, the shadows compliment your better features.

Which hat style looks best on you? Is it a Tribly or porkpie style? This style tends to have a sharp, moderately sized crown, with narrow brim, hense the term  stingy-brim, which looks great on a man with a small face and narrow shoulders, say like Sinatra.? Or are you the Homburg or fedora type, which by virtue of their generous brim, add balance for a man with a more medium to wide jaw, full face and broad shouldered. Which ever you choose remember, hats are very visible, and you don’t want your hat to be wearing you. Therefore you should wear it in your correct size; width of hat’s crown should match width of your face. Brim’s width should stay within confines of your shoulders, and rest 3/4 inch above your brow, and no better than 1/4 inch above your ears is the proper fit. And remember to pull it down slightly in the back, to allow your handsome face to be seen.

 

Naples’ noble empire

The beautiful time honored craft of bespoke tailoring rests eternally within the heart of Naples’ enduring cobbled medieval passageways.

O’MAST is a documentary about the strong, passionate life force of tailoring held in the Neapolitan former Kingdom. From the anecdotes spoken humbly by some of Naples’ master tailors, director Gianluca Migliarotti stitches together a story of spirit de corps, heritage and sartorial distinction.
From the opening panorama of the Bay of Naples as seen from a 16th century balcony, the soundtrack, an aging, jazzy, sinuous bit, Magliarotti wraps the audience and plants them in an atelier of the tailor Beppe Modenese and Marchese Giancarlo. Terrifically seamless editing-masterfully executed. When Antonio Panico spoke of his clientele spanning three generations, the perspective of commitment to a craft on an instinctive level becomes so clear. All those wonderful, rarified bolts of luxurious fabrics, seducing at decorum’s distance my willing heart.

Naples’ noble empire of bespoke craft reminds us of the day when attention to detail and passionate approach to one’s craft was not taken as a trend, a whim of branding. O’MAST is one for my collection, a permanent place among the other cineaste gems.

No easy suede

Sean Crowley ©Styling The Man0008
Suede shoes make anything worn with them appear nonchalantly stylish; once shod in these beauties, smitten by the suede’s beautiful buff to a fine nap, aficionados only reluctantly return to the usual hard shine shoe world. The suede shoe in brown shows up well in every season, contrasting warmly against lightly hued spring colors, like crocuses peering over rich brown loam. And soft and comforting, a natural refinement accompanying winter-weight wools, worsted and flannels, for the freezing zones.

The suede shoe quite possibly made its American debut at the 1924 Meadowbrook Country Club in Long Island New York. There was a Polo match, naturally international in scope, hosted there. The invitees, crème de la crème of society’s crop all gathered. The Prince of Wales, the personification of English qualities, and a great source of inspiration, made the scene decked in a pair of brown buckskin suede casual lace-ups, another one of his unique sartorial pivots, under a double-breasted chalk-striped flannel suit with long rolled lapels, no doubt woven in his namesake pattern. The Man Who Would Be King’s avant-garde sense of style caused many waggish comments. On both shores of the Atlantic, there were those aghast and caustic. Some decried his choice as “a mark of great effeminacy”, others went as far as calling the footwear “brothel creepers.” Men of the era rejecting the Reverse Calf as suede was called, in favor of the traditional high polish smooth shoe leather, thinking the effect as breaching good taste, delicate and unmanly!

Haberdashers and other retailers of the time found them an awkward thing to sell. In that the hides usually came in natural shades of brown, clothier salesmen fussed about convincing their clientele on what they should wear with seemingly informal shoes. It seems the dandy won out. The social set, the style savvy, found them a refreshing, comfortable novelty. The next decade saw the novelty wear off and suede shoes found widespread acceptance with the masses, post-depression. Now came a plethora of shoe styles to accommodate the interest; cap-toes on town lasts-a predecessor to the wingtip Oxford preferred by businessmen, captains of industry, etc; rubber-soled Bluchers for motoring to the country and puttering about once there, and the ankle-high desert boot, now called the Chukka, which was originally designed with two eyelet laced and used for spectator sportswear.

Meanwhile the buckskin shoe had become such a favorite within the upper crust English club circles, that one respectable pair was all the well-dressed man needed in his wardrobe to consider his weekend dress complete. Here in America, the club set at Meadowbrook and Piping Rock adopted the informal look of a tweed hacking-jacket with Grey flannel trousers, nudging his argyle-socked feet into a favored pair and head off to motor through the North Fork with his lady-love by his side.

Sean Crowley ©Styling The Man0001

2Sean Crowley for Genteel Flair ©Charles David_0002

1Sean Crowley for Genteel Flair ©Charles David_0003

A brief history of paisley

image The Enduring Paisley: An exotic reminder of antiquity; of kingdoms, sacred empires, dynasty & revolutions, a unique gentleman’s accessory, usually subtle in hue and tone. Notable in its elegance. Grab any psychedelic paisley and give a distinct flair to a venture capitalist or a menswear novice; a classic navy blazer with brass buttons, a simple shirt of choice; The paisley tie, no tie-bar, a perfectly washed pair of jeans; solid over-the-calf wool socks, finished off with a handsome pair of chukkas in dusty brown.

Adapted as print for men’s neckwear at the end of the 1920, paisley as a design has the unique distinction of remaining intact and true to its origins through millennia. From pre-Islam Persia, the pear or swirling pine-cone pattern image laid out, overlayed or intertwined with embellishments, found its way as a template in the weaving centers of the Silk Road, sacred places like Samarkand. Silk & cotton weavers took note in the early Chola dynasties existing in W. India and Tamil, their terrorities throughout Indonesia in the 12th century.

Coming into Kashmiri kingdoms, the native goats offered the luxury of letting their coats be woven. The effect was warm yet featherweight, an ideal partnership for fending off the chill of evenings spent abroad sumptuous summer houseboats on the mountain rimmed lake Kashmir. This featherweight, beautifully woven, jewel-toned fabric fashioned into generously sized shawls soon found favor with the colonials on post during the British Raj. Empire building fostered, timely enough, a wave of technology advancing rapidly in north England and Scotland, paisley. The industrial revolution gave this intriguing design a more manageable name than those it endured over the ages. The tradition remains, the function altered to modernity.

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The square

Bros, brahs, buds & dudes, a gentleman always carries a handkerchief for incidentals. Just don’t offer a lady friend the same one you blow out loogie.

I give you the handkerchief, also known as the handkercher, hanky, the hank, the pocket hank, the Pocket square, the square. A contemporary reduction in size, maybe on average 5 – 8 inches square, from the elaborate swatch of fine linen or silk heavenly flowered in non-stitched lace of many descriptions. The pocket square, now in its more conservative size, is adaptable to many origami-like transformations of debonair.  Color, texture, weight.

I like subtly with an edge. Like a dusty tan linen shirt, hard white lightly shred Levis, a natural flax-tone silk-linen single button or DB and, stuffed into a casual three-point flop in the breast pocket, a hanky by Christian Kimber. A recent design addition to the menswear world. A square which celebrates the London Gherkin structure, which structurally rather resembles the Graf Zeppelin of the first Led Zeppelin album cover. As you play around to get it just so, the feel of the pliant silk is sumptuous and the graphic pattern grid has endless artful possibilities of lines and planes, meridians and longitude perspectives which DeChirico could find amusing. Another eye-catcher for the well-dressed, is the Federation bandana. A Journey into a mushroom Taupe space, gridded by abstract white larger slashes. The designer’s iconic spaniel sits in attention in mild color frill.

Take a look through Christian Kimber’s Look-book. The footwear is also superb with Spanish and Italian craftsmanship on display.

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Reflections on a golden moment

mySaxonI see that Leo DiCaprio, auctioned his watch to a fellow swell, in the name of Earth’s
redemption.  An admirable thing but, I wonder if he really enjoyed wearing his timepiece, treasuring each minute’s movement, confident in knowing precisely the date, should an unexpectedly serious moment blitz the short-term memory suddenly. Did he privately caress the burnished black fine grain leather of the classic gold buckle wristband-something ultimately genteel and suave, that might be glimpsed under a french-cuffed, gleaming white linen shirt, worn say, by 007’s adversary? Would he pause to buff the crystal gently and reflect into the matte obsidian watch face and consider the simple pleasures of being a swell fellow?

This is a pleasure, owning and experiencing my Larsson & Jennings gentleman’s timepiece.

Curtiss

PlaneGlenn Hammonds Curtiss was one of the most influential figures in American History that you’ve never heard of. He made the first long distance flight in America in 1902, from Albany to New York City. His lifelong fascination with speed made him one of the great pioneers of human flight.

In 1878, in a small village sitting on the southern end of Keuka Lake, known as Hammondsport, Glenn Hammonds Curtiss was born to parents Lua Andrews and Frank Richmond Curtiss. At a young age, Glenn became fascinated with bicycles and how fast he could make them go, and would ride the bicycle his grandmother bought him-up and down the mountain roads in his neighborhood. Like those other pioneers, the Wright Brothers, Curtiss designed, built and repaired bicycles. Being the constant innovator that he was, he soon begin to experiment, adding combustible engines to his bicycles and started racing them. In 1903, Curtiss set a motorcycle record, riding at 64 miles per hour. Four years later in Ormond Beach, Florida, he rode the world’s first V8 motorcycle he designed and built-at a whopping speed of 136 miles per hour. That same year he built the handlebar throttle. The Media of his time nicknamed him “fastest man in the world”.

In 1907, Curtiss joined Alexander Graham Bell’s Aerial Experiment Association (AEA). The next three years, he snagged the Scientific American Trophy with planes built by Alexander Graham Bell’s Aerial Experiment Association. In 1909, at the first International Aviation Competition Meeting held in France, Curtiss narrowly beat France’s own Louis Bleriot in the main event to take the gold cup. But, his greatest triumph came on May 29, 1910, when he completed the first witnessed cross-country flight in the United States. With hundreds of thousands of people lined up on the Hudson just to get a glance of their local hero, Curtiss flew 150 miles from Albany to New York City. Thirty-four years after his death, Curtiss was enshrined into the The National Aviation Hall Of Fame.

The Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport, NY is a spectacular way to discover and experience the wonders of aviation and invention. The moment I entered the Museum, I felt like a kid in a candy store, I didn’t know where to begin my exploration. The Museum offers a remarkable insight into the life of one of America’s most significant figures, with a precious collections of artifacts, dating all the way back. From vintage motorcycles, bicycles, cars, period furniture, antique guns used in combat by the U.S. Military, to guided tours, interactive exhibits, and get this, a movie theater that sits up to 75 people. There are even restoration shops, with people actually restoring old airplanes, vintage cars, bicycles.

Even though the story of aviation may begin with the Wright Brothers, Glenn H. Curtis made many noteworthy contributions that led to sweeping changes in aviation.

Small style details

Double Knot Cufflinks and Longines Wrist watch

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Hold on loosely, but don’t let go

Old Is New Again –  While tie bars add a certain something to one’s overall style, it should be simple and understated. You don’t want this accessory to dominate as you walk into a room. You want the crowd to take in the entirety of you, and the care you’ve taken to put your ensemble out there.

The current nostalgic interest in the classic well-tailored look for men, also features the perennial keeping it all together accessory: The tie holder also known as  tie clasp, tie clip,  tie-bar, once referred to as tie slide – an often unassuming functionary offered in many choices. From stylish ornaments of precious metal to sets with even more precious stones fit for a Rajah’s entrance. Then for the creatives, the tie clip is a more personal statement. This is where great granddad’s Art Deco clip, the antiques and flea market find, your college buddy artisan’s flair for steampunk all come to the fore. Or should we say, front and almost center?

The most flattering position for your tie holder is between the third and fourth button of the dress shirt, not to be aligned with pocket-square moment. A slight downward twist can add some character of the wearer. If you’re wearing a vested suit, then you technically shouldn’t need a tie holder, as one of the functions of a vest as with a tie bar, is to affix the tie to the shirt’s front, keeping the tie on a neat, taut tether, which helps to maintain the tie’s arch in the neckband.

Remember the rudiments; how ever or what ever you call it, the accessory should never be wider than the tie itself.

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