Wednesday, January 26, 2011


If you want your outfit to say Attitude! and show sophistication, nothing does it better  than a good pair of sunglasses.

Jack Nicholson got it perfectly when he said “With my sunglasses on, I'm Jack Nicholson. Without them, I'm fat and 60.”

When you put a good pair of sunglasses on, you set yourself apart from the world, making the world softer, less harsh.
You’re protecting yourself from it, and if the eyes are indeed the windows to the soul
then wearing sunglasses closes that window to the world.

Sunglasses can also change a whole outfit making a casual outfit more sophisticated. Making you stand out in a crowd or just simply say: I'm cool…

In 1952 Ray Ban designer Raymond Stegeman came out with the Wayfareres. A model of sunglasses so successful that over 50 years
later it is still one of the best selling accessories for men (rivaled only by the Aviators).

This model is so classic and so unmistakably American that it has been copied, changed and adapted by almost every accessory company in the world (Even for women, remember Audrey Hepburn wearing sunglasses in the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany's? well, they might look like rayban’s but those are actually made by Persol..)

The latest model from Ray-Ban are the Wayfarer Ultra Limited Edition.
A reproduction of the model launched in 1952. Like the original, the Wayfarer Ultra is made of black acetate (this time with a unique serial number stamped inside the temple). On the outside, the Ray-Ban logo and 1952 are engraved in 18k gold.

Apart from being the coolest sunglasses out there right now, what makes these a great buy are the P3PLUS lenses; they offer a very
high quality polarization with enhanced color definition and an anti-reflective and hydro-oleophobic coating for strong protection and high resistance.

If you shop diligently you can find them for as little as $280.

By the way, if you are fearful that you will "blend in" too much because of the popularity of these glasses, no worries:
the white gold accents will set you apart for sure!

If you want sunglasses that are a modern version of a classic
look, a relatively new company called Barton Perriera ( is selling spectacular choices, redefining elegance and style.

Their best offering (but not the only great one) is “The Albert Maysles,” named after the filmmaker of "Grey Gardens" and the man  Jean-Luc Godard called “the best American cameraman,”

Turns out that he is not just super talented (…sigh of jealousy) but he also has a signature look! (something one should always strive for). His look is artistic and literary; in his case this look is achieved with spectacles from the 60s. An item he always wears (both as reading glasses and

These fantastic specs have been modernized and streamlined to fit any outfit but they work best with a  casual look..

Luckily for us, Barton Perriera has taken these and replicated them
exclusively for Barney’s New York. $350-$365 (

The result: amazing sunglasses and readers (get a reader and change the lenses for your regular everyday prescription if you have one).

Here some other options from Barton Perriera:

Finally a fantastic company that makes very unique sunglasses is "Anne and Valentine."  Opened in 1981 in Toulouse, in the south of France, the company  creates sunglasses (and regular frames) that are fun and quirky without being bizarre or outrageous.  They are just different enough to make you stand out. As always it’s all in the details.
The glasses have a sense of style and a certain French chic that is very hard to describe.

 These particular ones I got at ‘Invision optometry’ in San Francisco a while ago; they are just the right amount of style and flair. In a sea of suits, putting these on will immediately make you stand out!

Look for your local retailer at

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tie Bar

If you wear a tie often, you know that that they face many‘hazards’: soup, sauce, dressing,  low candles on a table or buffet, just to name a few.
You also know that every time you stand up to shake someone’s hand you have to ‘smooth’ it into your jacket or it will “flap” around. And of course the ever irritating pick-a-boo game that the skinny part of the tie plays with you.
The solution is as old as the tie wearing fashion itself (late 17th century). A tie clip, also known as a tie bar or a tie clasp or a tie slide. 
It clips horizontally across the tie and holds the two parts together and to your shirt.  
During the late 1800's men affixed their ties ( known then as a cravat) with a pin or tie stick, a very elegant solution but one the requires puncturing your tie. While I would not recommend puncturing a tie you liked, a knit tie will sustain minimal damage and the tie pin may look great with it.  Also, on a ascot (a wide tie worn for a wedding or a very formal affair) a tie pin is the only way to affix the tie to your shit.

Beginning in the 1930’s tie clips became an important part of dressing up in corporate America and very prominent (still) in the political world.  They became a kind of identity badge. Showing off your company or beliefs. President’s  (up through Clinton and Bush W ) gave them as fancy “campaign buttons”.  

A quick browsing at the latest fashion magazines or runways shows that the tie clip  is “back”!
As we are emerging from a casual decade and embracing well-made, tailored stylized garments, men have become more aware of their appearance, are paying much more attention to details and are using fashion to convey a personal style and personality.
The tie clip is an essential part of that. It puts a finishing touch on an outfit that evokes an era previously thought gone by.

Two questions come up frequently when talking about a tie clip;
1.    should it cover the full length of the tie ( skinny or wide)
2.    where should it be worn?
The truth is that some men like their tie clip to go across the entire tie and some like it to just clasp one side; there are no hard and fast rules to this.
As to how high to wear it, it should be worn halfway between the line of your belt and the end point of your collar.
Also it is important to match hardware, that is, a silver belt buckle should be worn with a silver tie bar and a silver watch etc…

The best tie clips at the moment can be found in wide variety at Their products have been featured in countless fashion editorials and magazines. 
At the very affordable price of $15, treat yourself to a selection of tie clips with different styles, finishes, and lengths. I particularly like the ‘silver shot’ in a 1.5 inch and 2 inch and the standard gold one.  Of course ruffling through vintage and antique shops  can also yield some great finds...

Paul Smith stores often offer some vintage pieces, costing usually around $45.

And if you want splurge, Tiffany’s offers a beautifully marked tie clip in sterling silver called 183 for $85. Just be sure to wear this one with standard silk or woven ties because if the tie is too thick it will stretch the clip.

I'll end with some verses from T.S Eliot’s “Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock” as the tie pin mentioned there evokes a certain style and confidence that i like…
Keep Shopping I

T.S. Eliot (1888–1965).  Prufrock and Other Observations.  1917.

1. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.

LET us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo…

…And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—
[They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”]
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
[They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”]
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse….

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sock it to me....

Socks are very important! This may come as a surprise to some, but the comfort of your feet can make a huge difference in how you feel. An uncomfortable sock will irritate you while a good sock will make your feet feel cozy in your shoes all day long.

While comfort is paramount, socks are not only about comfort.  They send a message to others about you. Imagine sitting down and crossing your leg. Some of your sock will show (or your ankle if you go sockless) especially these days when pants and suits are cropped a little shorter. What would you like your sock to say about you? “I’m elegant” or “I’m confidant” or ‘I’m witty’ or “Screw you all” ?  I promise you that a “stand out” sock will give you “great/cool /wow” looks and comments.

I use to get frustrated by the sock choices at the department stores. I tried countless brands of socks! Some of them lost their elasticity after a few washes, some lost their softness; others wore out at the heel too soon. Oh, and of course so many of them irritated my toes at the seem of the sock. It also not easy to find a sock that fits and that actually comes in sizes...After much trial and error, I now know which socks work best, feel the most comfortable for the longest time and give me my money's worth. Just for you, here is the rundown of my findings.

A few suggestions:

Find a sock that has hand linked toes: This is a traditional method of stitching the toe seam, giving a completely smooth finish and providing unrivaled comfort.

Look for reinforcements: The most pressure in shoes is at the heel and toe. So look for socks that tell you that they weave the yarn stronger or are woven into multiple layers at the heel and toe.

Find a yarn that is comfortable to you, ( and stay away from nylon, unless the ratio of natural fiber to soft nylon is 80/20 or better). Most people find cotton the most comfortable but you may prefer wool, cashmere or even linen in the summer. Linen is stronger than cotton, not as warm, and super breathable during the hot summer months.  It is also a great choice if you need dress socks but your feet tend to get very hot and sweaty…

As for color, while it is convention to match your sock to your pants (NOT YOUR SHOE, THAT WILL MAKE YOU LOOK SHORTER AND STUBBIER)
Try wearing something colorful, perhaps with color accents from your shirt, tie or suit lining? Or maybe a pattern… I personally like skulls. Especially on days when I know I will be sitting at many annoying meetings…
Buy socks that are colorfast. Dyes have a tendency to fade. Only high quality socks offer a dye process that makes them not bleed and survive the daily strains.

One brand that I particularly love is Pantherealla (a British company that has made men’s and women’s socks since 1937).  Their socks come in a variety of materials (cotton, wool, silk, cashmere and sea island cotton; the latter feels as delicate as cashmere but can be washed in the same way as regular cotton) as well as specific sizes (not the ubiquitous ‘ one size fits most’) and for my women readers they also offer knee high socks.  Their price ranges from about $20 a pair to $60. BUT. If you shop diligently you can find them for less. I just bought a few pairs for $12 a pair on  You can find them at Nordstrom, Saks fifth Ave and

Undoubtedly, Corgi (another British company—this one provides socks for the British monarchs) makes some of the best socks for men and for women.  They are currently being sold at for $32 a pair. Not cheap, but they are amazingly comfortable and well made and will last and last.

Thomas Pink (who has a fantastic store in San Francisco) also sells great sturdy socks that come in different sizes and materials. Their price range can go to as low as $10 on sale up to $40 a pair.

Finally, for cold days or for hiking--Marled Socks: Camp Socks (made in the US by the last remaining sock mill )-are currently 2 pairs for $20 at J.Crew. get them in red and navy. Wearing them with a loafer says: “ I’m cool and I don’t care about conventions” It is also very old school…

Last words:
If you hate shopping for socks ( and/or underwear), offers a sock-scription. You can choose which socks and which colors and they will send them to every 2 or 3 or 4 or 6 times a  year ( choose 3 times a year for $89; they will ask you if you would like to renew every 11 months… you can also buy one as a trial.)

Keep Shopping I.