New Chukka Boots

Blog Shoes 8-17-15Krystyn recently shared her thoughts on shoe basics for men and today, I’m showing off my new Chukka Boots.

For more on men’s style, follow @SterlingGent



Shoe Basics for Men

Guest blogger Krystyn offers her thoughts on shoe basics for men:

In comparison to their female counterparts, men do not necessarily have the passion (in many instances, though certainly not all), or the colorful liberty of choices for shoes. Mens shoe styles, while available in a range of colors and textiles, predominantly gravitate toward classic/simplistic and capitalize on neutrals.

A man with a shoe fetish is nothing to scoff at. Women can, and do, appreciate a man with a sense of style, especially where shoes are concerned. However, it is not necessarily a deal breaker if his shoe collection does not rival our own, as long as what he does showcase is worthwhile.

Personally, I find the basketball sneaker obsession wildly over-hyped. Colorful, flashy, and obnoxious designs are vied for among “sneakerheads,” to the extent that a black market exists wherein shoes that might sell in stores for $160 will sell between individuals for upwards of $300 or more. If they are a “retro” style, or even a re-release, this price could escalate into the thousands. Considering Nike is the most prominent retailer for these styles, the price is insanely inflated for the quality and longevity of the shoes in question.  In addition, retailers sell clothes intended to match each style of shoe, so the result is an overall outfit that is entirely too “matchy-matchy” and ultimately appears as though the man cannot be trusted to put together a tasteful ensemble himself, thus putting all of his effort (and cash) into collecting pieces made to reflect a single color palette. It’s just too much, and honestly very juvenile.

By all means, if a man wants a pair of basketball sneakers, or Nikes, regardless of color or style, have at it! But this should not comprise your entire repertoire. It has been done. Over…and over…and over again. Let’s imbue some originality into the next generation of gentlemen, shall we?

As a grown woman, with grown woman tastes, I enjoy a man who can choose shoes that have character, but that are modest and classic. Business and casual should have their own separate spaces in order to extend the life of your investments, although there are more loafer styles currently that can allow for some flexibility in those categories, without sacrificing much in the way of cost.

Brogues are a wonderful addition to any professional wardrobe, as they are classic, and traditionally made to last in leather with hard, thick soles. Wingtip brogues are my personal favorite, because the design alludes to a generation in which craftsmanship meant a connection to the cobbler himself, and well-made shoes were symbolic of status and personal pride. Simple and plain styles are universally flattering as well, and still maintain a character all their own, that will surely compliment any suit or dress slack/shirt combination. Pebbled leather variations are hot this Fall, but perhaps not as universally applicable as they possess a more rustic or relaxed aesthetic. If paired with the correct suit and accessories to play up the quality, rustic can be charming and high-end in a corporate atmosphere, but it must be done with intent.

For a flexible (casual and professional) option, consider a leather loafer in black or brown shades. The shape mirrors that of a traditional dress shoe, while the slip-on style and cut allow these to be worn effortlessly with jeans or shorts and mimic the boat-shoe vibe that still persists among younger groups. The loafer takes that essence and matures and refines it for a more focused demographic of aspiring professionals. Cole Haan, Sperry, and Ralph Lauren have excellent variations on this style, as pictured below.

loafers 1

loafers 2

loafers 3loafers 4


Pictured top to bottom:  Cole Haan Howland Penny; Sperry Gold Cup Bellingham ASV Penny Loafer; Polo by Ralph Lauren Wes Driving Moc; Polo by Ralph Lauren Arkley Penny

Essentially, women want a man whose style comes from within. How bright, or expensive, or new an item is, has no bearing on the style character of the man wearing it. It is always in the way that the man wears what he chooses, that speaks volumes. Likewise, a man who takes care of himself, will take care of his clothing and shoes, and will likely take care of another person in his life. Women seek quality, responsibility, confidence, and stability, and looking the part can often help lead us in the right direction!

For more on men’s shoes and style, follow @SterlingGent



65 Style Tips for Guys

So, someone sent this to me with no attribution.  I agree with most of these and will offer commentary otherwise (or just for fun).  So, here goes — 65 style tips for guys.

  1.  If you can slip two fingers between your neck and the buttoned collar of a  new  dress shirt, the shirt will fit comfortably after laundering.
  2.     The shirt placket, the belt buckle, and the trouser fly should all line up. SG says: YES!
  3.     Speaking of belt buckles, the point of your tie should never fall below it. Again, YES!
  4.     Rent no clothing. Indeed… a man should buy a tux and have it tailored appropriately
  5.     Ninety-dollar shoes last half as long as $180 shoes, but $360 shoes will last you your whole life. This is absolutely true.  I bought a very expensive (to me) pair of shoes after getting my first paycheck at my first “real” job.  11 years later, I was still wearing them.  They finally “died” but it was well worth what I thought was a lot of money back in 1999. 
  6.     Three-hundred-sixty-dollar shoes will not last your whole life if you break  their backs by refusing to use a shoehorn.
  7.     Three-hundred-sixty-dollar shoes without a shine can look like $90 shoes. YES!
  8. Women notice shoes. True…very true.
  9.       They also notice nose hair; so should you. This is a challenge easily addressed. 
  10.     Good shoes and a good haircut matter more than a great suit. True — and worth noting for the man just starting out.
  11.     Neckties decorated with cartoon characters, golf tees, or the paintings of    dead rock musicians coordinate with nothing.
  12.     It is never acceptable to loosen your tie, except during the process of its    removal. I am delighted that someone finally said this!
  13.     You are in your car an hour each day; you are in your clothes from morning    to night. Spend accordingly. Again, wise words for the aspiring gentleman.  I drove the same car for 14 years.  It was solid and reliable and no one noticed it when I walked into the office in my well-tailored suit, cuff links, and polished shoes.
  14.     The seat-belt shoulder strap goes under your necktie.
  15.     You can’t wear a bow tie with anything other than a tuxedo if you’re under    forty-five or not a famous novelist or not a total geek, professor.
  16.     Very few people want to see you in compression shorts, and those who do    might not be your target audience.
  17.     Likewise tight, black leather pants, Mr. Bon Jovi.
  18.     A $250 shirt will look like a $25 shirt if it is professionally laundered    instead of hand washed.  Yes — number one mistake many young men make (and take into proper adulthood) is having EVERYTHING laundered … learn to do it yourself and do it right.
  19.     Still, you will be happiest if you regard dress shirts as disposable.
  20.     By the way, this blue-shirt craze is getting really tiresome.
  21.     Buy the lightest-weight tuxedo you can find, because dancing and drinking    and scantily clad women cause formal affairs to become overheated.
  22.     One ring, maximum. On a finger. Not from college. Not from high school.    Silver or platinum, not gold.
  23.     On airplane trips, briefs are more comfortable than boxers, as contents may    shift during takeoff and landing.
  24.     There are no bargains.
  25.     A man in a good suit and tie looks chic; a man in a good suit without a tie    looks more chic.
  26.     A man who uses the word chic had better be kidding around.
  27.     A man in a suit without a tie can wear loafers; a man in a suit with a tie    cannot.
  28.     Ed Bradley doesn’t look as good with that earring as he thinks he does.
  29.     Jack Nicholson can wear two-tone spectator shoes only because he is Jack    Nicholson.
  30.     It is far better to arrive at an event overdressed than underdressed: People    will think you’ve got somewhere more important to go afterward.
  31.     Cheap cashmere is less soft and more fragile than expensive wool. And not even worth it.
  32.     A T-shirt that shows through a dress shirt is the male equivalent of visible    panty lines.
  33.     Do not wear button-down collars with double-breasted suits. Better yet, don’t wear button-down collars with any suit — a sportcoat and khakis, sure. But not a suit.
  34.     Do not unbutton double-breasted suits, Letterman notwithstanding.
  35.     The only thing worse than wearing socks that don’t cover one’s calves is    wearing patterned socks that don’t cover one’s calves.
  36.     If you lose one cuff link, remove the remaining orphan; this will make it  look as if you have insouciant personal style and omitted them on purpose. This assumes you are wearing cuff links with your suits, which you absolutely should be doing
  37.       Keep a lint roller in your office. And in your car.
  38.     A good suit treated well shouldn’t be dry-cleaned more than twice a season;    a good tuxedo treated well should never be dry-cleaned.     Unless you’re a quarterback, never wear anything with your name and/or    number on it.
  39.     Jeans should never meet an iron. Again, someone had to say it. 
  40.     What you find at an outlet store is what other people refused to buy or what   a company thinks you will buy because you’re the kind of person who shops at an outlet store. Let me add that you may, however, find good basics (white dress shirts, etc.) at a reasonable price at an outlet store — and having a decent collection of solid white dress shirts is always a good idea.
  41.     Khakis religiously worn on Fridays are no less a uniform than a business suit worn the prior four days.
  42.     Nonetheless, you can never have too many khakis. Or white heavyweight-cotton    T-shirts or canvas tennis shoes. For Saturday.     Numbers to remember: one half inch of shirt cuff; one and a half inches of  trouser cuff; two inches more belt than inches on your waist.
  43.     Your belt and shoes should match in color, if not in material. Absolutely — and this is especially important for those of you wearing brown shoes with blue suits – which, while trendy, I don’t particularly enjoy.  But it is a crime to wear nice brown dress shoes with a blue suit and black belt.  Just stay home if you can’t figure out why.
  44.     Speaking of color, there is little use for pink, peach, or teal.
  45.     It’s not the name on the label or the numbers on the credit-card statement  but how good you look in it.
  46.     Even Al Gore shouldn’t wear a watch with a built-in calculator.
  47.     Like cars and stereo equipment, clothes are not really ‘invest-ments,’    because they cannot appreciate. They’re clothes.
  48.     It’s more important in a man’s daily life to have a good tailor than a good    doctor.
  49.     Clothing salesmen can change your life in a good way, but not many of them.
  50.     Two elements of style that will last longer than any man who is smart enough    to own them: a sterling belt buckle from Tiffany and simple cuff links.
  51.     A restaurant meal tastes better when you’re wearing a suit coat.
  52.     Band-collar shirts make you look either stupid or like a priest or like a  stupid priest.
  53.     Whether a tie is too fat or too skinny should be decided by you, on a tie-by-tie basis.
  54.     When in doubt, ask a woman.
  55.     Know that she will often be wrong, too, and that ultimately a man is alone  in a vast sea of indecision that he must ply.
  56.     Never trust a fashion magazine. CelebrityTrendZ is not a fashion magazine.    CelebrityTrendZ likes you very much and is only trying to help.
  57.     Cigars are never stylish in mixed company.
  58.     If you hang your jacket on a chair and then sit on the chair and lean back,    your jacket will look as if you had hung it on a chair and then sat on the chair and leaned back.
  59.     Drape your scarf on that chair and you’re going to lose it, and we are not  your mother.
  60.     A black knit tie coordinates with jeans and a blazer as well as it does with    a French-cuffed shirt and a custom-made suit.    
  61.     Deep in the heart of the Middle West, some people are actually wearing those    baggy, printed workout pants again, and you owe God your deepest thanks that    you have the presence of mind to not be among them.
  62.     The most important thing about selecting a hotel is the ability of the staff    to press a shirt instantly, anytime, day or night.     First suit: navy solid. Second suit: gray solid. Third suit: navy pinstripe.    Fourth suit: gray chalk stripe. Fifth suit: black. Sixth suit: You need no    sixth suit.  All true … I might add that for men in the South, the fifth suit may be a khaki cotton number appropriate for garden parties and Sunday services.
  63.     To have absolute style is to break absolute rules – sometimes even these.
  64.     There is no foot pain so severe, no dress shoe so fragile, no commute so    arduous, as to justify the sartorial holocaust that is wearing sneakers with  a suit.
  65.     Unless you have a harelip or happen to be Wilford Brimley, you look exactly    half as attractive with a mustache.

For more on men’s style, follow me @SterlingGent

A Gentleman’s Socks

The great-looking guys over at Ledbury have written up some wise words on socks.

A gentleman always pays attention to every detail, and socks are no exception.

Whether wearing Chukka boots or the perfect dress shoes, you need socks.  Please don’t, as I’ve seen at times, go without socks while wearing dress shoes or any shoes, really.  But it’s especially bad to see a sockless man in fine shoes and a suit.  Distressing, really.

Wear socks.  And go serious or have some fun.  But choose wisely and follow the advice of some of the best-dressed (and best at making great shirts) guys around.

How to Choose Chukka Boots

Yes, gentlemen, you NEED Chukka boots in your wardrobe.

They are simple, practical, and look great — especially in the fall, but can be worn in most seasons.

Now, how do you go about choosing your Chukkas?

Well, you could just go around and look at them.  Or, you could seize upon the recommendations of a very fine young lady.  None other than Mollie.  Yes, the one in Seattle.  She’s quite stylish herself, really.

So, here are three Chukka Boots you might choose.  I like them all, well, mostly.  The first two are nice and the third is different, but with the right outfit on the right man, it may work.

First, the Boat Ox Chukka from Sperry Top-Sider

This is simple, straightforward, and goes great with jeans or chinos — try some colors, guys!

Next, the ‘Botas – Desert’ Suede Chukka from Toms

Again, versatile, simple, and fun.

Finally, this thing called the Drifter, also from Sperry.

I can’t say I’m super excited by it, but still … with jeans, sure.

So, yes, you do need Chukka Boots.  And you should listen to Mollie.  She knows her shoes.



Style Tips for Guys — From Of Iron and Oak

So, the great people over at Of Iron and Oak have a few tips for the young man aspiring to be a gentleman.

These are all very solid pieces of advice.  And all of them should be noted and heeded.

We’d like to focus on number 2 (regarding the wearing of cologne) and number 4 (shoes).

Yes, guys, you need to use cologne.  Yes, you should choose wisely and apply cautiously.  Here’s some advice to enhance your application of fragrance.

Also, you need dress shoes.  They need to be black.  They need to be simple, made of leather, and of high quality.  How do you choose your dress shoes?  Look here for more.

As always, follow us for tips and advice on how to be a gentleman!

Peter Nappi Nashville — A Gentleman’s Choice

This email arrived today and we think it is simply amazing.  Peter Nappi shares our home of Nashville, so we’re publishing it here in its entirety.  If you’re a gentleman, you appreciate fine craftsmanship.  Peter Nappi is exquisite.  Even the guys at Ledbury think so.  And of course, readers will remember that Ledbury offered this solid advice about ensuring your shirt and tie match.

Without further adulation, here goes:

We have so many reasons to be proud of our beloved city Nashville - with the Ryman Auditorium ranking among the top of the list. Not only is the Ryman thought of as our flagship venue, but also as a beacon of our progressive spirit and dedication to our musical roots. More than the home of the original Grand Olde Opry, Ryman's lineage sprang from a strong community spirit... [ read more ]
Some great acts are coming to town. We hope to catch Morrissey, Dwight Yoakam and Band of Horses. Here's what else is playing... Act fast. We're giving away two sets of tickets for a tour of the Ryman. First purchases of the day gets them. Online or in the Studio.
Our Studio is open Monday-Saturday 11am-6pm | directions: Rosa Parks to Monroe. Monroe dead-ends at Adams.
615.248.3310  |

A Gentleman’s Dress Shoes

Another adapted post.  Sage advice for gentlemen on choosing shoes.

Yes, every man should have at least one good pair of BLACK dress shoes.
Like these:

These are from Cole Haan — the Cassady Captoe II, to be specific.  Leather.  Black.  Lace up.
Men’s dress shoes have LACES.  Loafers or “slip-on” shoes do NOT go with your well-chosen, tailored suit.  Ever.  Grey trousers, blue sport coat, tie and possibly slip-on leather shoes.  But NOT with a suit.
If you are escorting your girlfriend to a wedding, you NEED a pair of shoes like these.  This particular pair will run you between $100 and $140 depending on where you buy.  That’s a great deal.  I tried a pair on last night and they are comfortable, classy, and will make any suit look great.  Cole Haan is a solid brand and they make quality products.  So, ditch the square-toed loafers you wore with a suit in college — get these! Wear them with a suit to a wedding, a job interview, or anywhere else that calls for dress clothes.

And remember to follow us on twitter for more advice and style tips.