Thursday, November 19, 2015

Bespoke Menswear from Knot Standard

Bespoke or custom menswear from online retailers is nothing new in the world of men's fashion. In fact, I have tried some of these companies and additionally have seen presentations from companies in this area of the menswear market

In a time of men's fashion trends where silhouettes are becoming ever more tailored and refined, I think the need for affordable custom or bespoke products that are easily accessible is ever increasing. I know that I have a challenge finding shirts that do not balloon or pants that fit at both the waist and legs appropriately. While high-end designers tend to have superb fits, sometimes we are not always looking to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a new piece for our wardrobe. 

I was introduced to one of the fastest growing custom menswear brands, Knot Standard, and thanks to them, was able to experience their product and experience firsthand. Let me start by simply saying, if you are in the market for affordable, quality menswear, whether for work or play, and a great fit, Knot Standard meets all of these needs!

 The company was founded in 2010, and I love the entrepreneurial spirit behind it. It has evolved to one of the fastest growing companies as ranked by Inc. Magazine, with showrooms in New York, Washington D.C.,  Dallas, Houston, Austin, and Dubai. Additionally, spaces are slated to open in Chicago and Los Angeles in the coming months. 

Personal designers are on-hand in the showrooms to assist with fittings and selections, but the product is also available online. With that being said, what is the online experience like? In one word, I would sum up my experience as effortless. 

There are two major aspects of the online experience, namely selecting your garment and inputting your measurements to ensure the perfect fit. I, of course, find the first part to  be the hardest as I want everything! In the end, I opted for a classic blazer in an iconic herringbone pattern. 

After selecting your piece, there are two choices for getting your measurements into the Knot Standard system- building a 3D body scan using the computer's camera, or following a guided process of taking key measurements of your body so the computer can generate an image of your body, and as a result your pieces will be made to fit your exact measurements. I opted for the latter, and must say that the measurement process was very simple!

I really enjoyed the customization options Knot Standard gives you. For $375 you would not expect to be given the option to select the lining color, have a monogram, or working buttonholes; however, these are all options during the online customization process!

I received my blazer a few weeks after placing my order. It arrived in a nice garment bag, and when I opened the package to try on the piece, I was shocked. I have to be in honest in saying that I was a little skeptical of inputting various measurements and ending up with a blazer at this price point that would fit appropriately. Needless to say, when I slipped on the blazer, it fit like a glove! The fit truly rivals some of my $1,495 sport coats. 

With that being said, I encourage to move at a fast pace to check out Knot Standard!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Diptyque Fragrances for Personal and Home

While I do wear colognes throughout the entire year, I find myself consistently wearing fragrance throughout the fall and winter months. Perhaps this is because I'm attracted to more musky, woodsy scents that are nice compliments to these seasons. I also find myself burning candles regularly starting around this time of the year as well. 

With recent additions to my home and personal fragrance collections from one of my favorite perfumers, Diptyque, it is needless to say that good scents are on my mind! You probably will not open a magazine and see an ad for Diptyque or even glance up at a billboard with their name, however, this iconic French perfumer has been crafting quality fragrances since its inception in 1961. The brand has evolved to include a large olfactory range and products for both personal and the home. It is quite popular among the fashionable crowd as the highly recognizable "oval", unique to the brand" mixes well with an minimal interior designs.

As the fall season is underway and we will begin to slowly enter winter, seasonal scents come to mind such as the small of a warming, wood fire. I love the scent of a woodsy candle burning in the home on a chilly fall day. Needless to say, Diptyque makes one of the best fragrances of this nature. You can find their classic "Feu de Bois" burning in my house throughout the season. One of my reasons for loving Diptyque is the sheer array of fragrances that they offer. From relaxing "Feuille de Lavande" to the Feu de Bois described above, there really is something for any personality to love.

Fragrances make a great gift as the holiday season approaches as well. Do you find yourself burning more candles during the fall and winter seasons? What are your favorites?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Prepare Hair + Skin for Fall with American Crew

Perhaps it may not feel like fall just quite yet where you are- I know temperatures are going to be over 70 all week here; however, it is important to prepare you hair and skin for the dryness that comes with the fall and winter seasons.

 I am excited to share some great men's grooming tips provided by Patti Davenport, Shave Director at American Crew, that use a few key products from the American Crew line. I know my skin dries out from the hot air heat at home and at the office as well as the brutal temperatures that creep in during January and February.

Below are Patti's tips for getting your hair and skin ready for the dry season featuring three American Crew products that I use frequently, namely daily moisturizing shampoo, moisturizing shave cream, and molding clay.

Daily Moisturizing Shampoo:

Start off with American Crew Daily Moisturizing Shampoo, which contains botanical ingredients that are suitable for all skin and scalp types to nourish, calm and prevent the skin from over drying. Additionally, this product is a great cleanser for the face/beard as well as the scalp/hair. Helping to cleanse dead skin cells, debris, oil and environmental pollution from the surface of the skin and beard without over drying."

I use this shampoo on a daily basis, starting in the fall and it leaves my hair soft and refreshed. The product has a nice, light scent featuring key ingredients such as Rosemary and Thyme extracts as well as Chamomile extract.

Moisturizing Shave Cream:

I switched to this shave cream about a year ago, and have been very pleased with it. A good shave cream is essential. American Crew's cream features powerful antioxidants that protect and moisturize the skin. I found the cream to be pleasant against my skin and allowed the razor to slide smoothly over the skin. I love the scent of the eucalyptus is very refreshing!

For added protection, Patti recommends using Post-Shave cooling lotion, saying "Once you jump out of the shower, apply American Crew Post-Shave Cooling Lotion to the face, beard and any skin that is regularly exposed... nape, ears, etc. The ingredients of this lightweight moisturizer help to nourish, prevent and treat any minor skin inflammations, as well as maintain the correct PH on the surface of the skin.

Molding Clay:

Do you have a hairstyle that requires you to using styling clay daily or often? This may be the product you have been looking for. I found it to have a great hold and to not be too heavy like some other products I have used in the past.

White clay from the Paris Basin naturally heals and stimulates the scalp, making it good for men with sensitive skin and scalp. Other key ingredients include all-natural essential oils such as orange, peppermint, and spearmint.

All products available via American Crew

Monday, October 12, 2015

Bring the Café Home with Fall Coffee Recipes from Nespresso

If you follow my posts or social media accounts, you have probably picked up on my love for Nespresso. I was introduced to the world of Nespresso about two years ago when I received and started using my first machine. Since that point in time, I admit, that no other at-home brew system compares to the Nespresso machine.

Recently, I purchased the newer Vertuoline machine which brews rich, foamy, coffees in addition to espressos. I have been enjoying the machine since bringing it home, and I am excited to bring to you some great fall coffee recipes by Nespresso. Whether you use a Nespresso or not, these recipes are great inspiration for your coffee beverages this season. If you do use a Nespresso, share your favorite recipes and thoughts below!

Grab a sweater, cozy up with a good book, and enjoy!

Nutty Reverso Coffee:

This recipes uses the new intenso coffee pods- if you are a Nespresso owner, I highly recommend this new blend!

1 capsule Intenso blend
1/8 tsp. Almond extract
1 tbs. Chesnut syrup
1 tbs. Hazelnut syrup
3 oz. Half-and-half

Pour syrups, extract, and half-and-half into a glass, brew Intenso coffee onto mixture, and enjoy!

Caramel and Chocolate Latte:

1 capsule Caramelizio blend
2oz milk
1 tsp. sweet ground chocolate and cocoa
1 tbs. chocolate syrup

Combine milk and chocolate with heat in a small saucepan, or combine ingredients in a milk frother. Add syrup and sugar into cup, pouring heating milk into cup. Brew Caramelizio blend into cup, stir and enjoy!

Images: My Own, Nespresso

Friday, October 9, 2015

Lacoste Launches Made in France Capsule Collection

Iconic French brand, Lacoste, is revisiting its root with its most recent capsule collection which is dubbed "Made in France." Lacoste's history goes back to 1921 when René won his first tournament followed by a win at the French Open in 1924. The famous croc logo which we all recognize as synonymous with Lacoste came about in 1926, embroidered on the blazer of René Lacoste.

The rest, as they say, is history, filled with classic styles and silhouettes. Lacoste has been one of my go-to brands for years as the brand's simplicity aligns with my style. The Made in France Collection, as the name indicates, features products that are made in France and incorporate stylistic elements that are an homage to Lacoste's heritage. This includes striped sweaters, contract collar polos, and twill chinos.

Below are some of my favorite pieces from the newest capsule collection. Hover over the image to shop the pieces.

Have you been a long time Lacoste fan?

Images: Lacoste

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Autumn is Cardigan Season

The autumn season is in full season with pumpkin spice lattes and decorated porches serving as evidence. Every year I always get caught off guard by the arrival of the season. It seems like just yesterday I was wearing shorts and t-shirts and now the chilly air calls for one of fall's essentials: the cardigan.

I find myself wearing cardigans very frequently during the autumn season as they are the perfect layering piece for the seasonal temperatures. On a brisk morning, a cardigan functions as outerwear and transitions to a great layering piece while in the still air conditioned office environment during the day. 

The cardigan, a true classic, can be dressed up when done in a refined wool, such as this Thom Browne piece, or it can function as a great companion throughout more casual fall weekends. A chunky, shawl collar style makes for cozy studying in the library or a nice piece for running errands.

To step out into the slightly cool fall air, I paired a wool Rag & Bone Cardigan with pinstripe pants that are modern and attention grabbing. For modern, updated look, I recommend pairing v-neck shirts under your cardigans as opposed to crewneck styles. The top of the outfit remains neutral and muted, with Dries Van Noten pants taking the prize. 

Color can still be worn throughout the fall season. Reach for your more muted tones versus the bright hues you might have lived in during the summer. The deeper red accompanies the season well while offsetting the charcoal tones of the cardigan. This look would be perfect for the office as the refined wool elevates the cardigan. 

Styles with pockets make the cardigan even more functional. Whether you are throwing your phone, wallet, or keys into the front pockets, you will find yourself reaching for them often! 

Cardigan: Rag & Bone // Pants: Dries Van Noten // Sungalsses: Randolph Engineering // Fragrance: Creed

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Last Summer Stripes

Its officially the unofficial end of summer. Labor Day has come and past, and the calendar is raining on your white parade. While many argue you can wear white year round, I stick to white shirts only and save the white pants and shorts for the summer seasons to come. (How many more days?)

This weekend, I donned the last of my summer stripes, in a traditional way. If there is one combination that I think is easy, yet classic and sophisticated, it is navy paired with white. The navy and white combination has a feeling of nautical ease. I paired a traditional and iconic Saint James knit with navy chinos for an effortless Labor Day picnic look. If you are not familiar with Saint James already, I highly recommend checking them out. The brand has its roots in France and is renowned for its striped knits, with a sailing heritage.

Simple accessories completed the look. I paired a red bracelet to complete the Labor Day feel of American colors. Sophisticated Hermes sandals mixed with modern Dior sunglasses finished off the outfit. I figured sandals were appropriate as this was probably the last weekend for running around the yard barefoot.

Shirt: Saint James // Pants: Ralph Lauren // Bracelets: Miansai // Sandals: Hermes // Sunglasses: Dior

While it is sad to see summer leaving us, fall is, perhaps, one of my favorite seasons for dressing...bring on the sweater weather!

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