Men’s Style: Style Tips for Layering

By Donte, Men’s Style VIP

One trend that is pretty popular in the fall and winter months is layering.  Anybody can do it and it’s an easy way to put some of your favorite pieces together and wear them all at once.  The trick though, is to make it look effortless (isn’t that always the challenge?).

There are several reasons why people choose to layer and those reasons will affect the way it’s done.  Whether you are choosing to layer for warmth because it’s cold outside, or because you think it’s cool and you want to incorporate it into your personal style, I’m here to offer some tips for creating an effortless layered look.

Layer fabrics appropriately by their position

By position, I mean relative to your body.  I consider Layer 1 to be the “Inner” layer, which is usually an undershirt or t-shirt.  It does not have to be visible.  Since it is the layer that is closest to your body, it should be breathable and comfortable.  This should not be the heaviest layer because you’ll want it to be able to absorb sweat if necessary.

Layer 2 or the “Middle” layer can be heavier than the first layer.  If your inner layer is an undershirt, you’ll want the middle layer to cover it up as much as possible.  Button down and Polo shirts work very well for this layer.

Finally, Layer 3 or the “Outer” layer should be the heaviest fabric.  The outer layer may either be a jacket, sweater, or vest and will be the most visible layer.

Each visible layer should be a potential standalone item

The idea with layering is that you should be able to take off any one layer at a given time and still like and feel comfortable in what you are left wearing. This can be especially important if you are layering for warmth because the temperature of your body or the outside elements may fluctuate. You don’t want to be in a situation where you take your jacket off and everything under it looks a mess! By picking an item you like for each layer, you can avoid that problem.

Edit yourself to one or two accent colors

You’ll want to create your own color story with this look, and layering is a great way to do so because you have several pieces to choose from.  You don’t, however, want your layers to clash and become tacky.  Limiting yourself to one or two accent colors allows you to create a common thread through each layer so that they tie into each other.  The middle layer is a great place to add the biggest pop of color, so experiment with contrasting this layer to your inner and outer layers.

So what do you think?  Is layering for you?  Do you have any tips for creating a great layered look?  Feel free to comment and share your vision.


Men’s Style: Reinvest in the Sweater Vest

By Donte’, Men’s Style VIP

As I was going through my closet the other day, I realized that I had a few sweater vests that I haven’t worn in quite some time.  Then I realized that I haven’t seen anyone wear a sweater vest in a pretty long time.  Are they out of style?  Do they make them anymore?  Why is that?  The best answer I could think of was that people don’t know what season they are for or how to style them.

The reason it seems to be pretty difficult to determine which season one should wear a sweater vest is because of the fabric and texture.  The ones I have are mainly wool blends as opposed to cotton and are on the heavier side.  If I wear them in the summer, I can get pretty warm very quickly.  Because they don’t have sleeves, it can suggest that they aren’t for the winter.  Also, some of the brighter colored sweater vests seem to be appropriate for early spring, so maybe that’s the appropriate season.  See the confusion?  Here are some tips for how to wear a sweater vest and make it trendy again.

Try wearing it under a suit during the winter months.  This is where the lack of sleeves can be to your advantage because you can layer it under a suit for added warmth without bulking up or changing the fit in the arms.  They can also provide an accent to the suit depending on the color of the vest.  You can be creative and create new color schemes when you combine them with a shirt and tie or other accessories.  Another way to style it is under a button down shirt.  It has a similar effect as when you wear it with a suit.  You can wear the button down shirt open so that you can see the layers of the outfit.

As you can see, there are ways we can revive the sweater vest and bring it back to life.  So how would you rock it?  What are some creative ways you’ve seen or worn a sweater vest?  Let me know your thoughts and share your vision with the readers.

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“The Fall Prep Guide”

Get ready for the fall with “The Fall Prep Guide.”

A guest post from Fashionable Joe

[A Note from the Editor: Fashionable Joe is a new men’s fashion and style blog that will be launching in the fall/winter of 2013.  To keep up with Fashionable Joe prior to their launch follow them on Twitter and Instagram: @fashionablejoe.

The legal stuff: The views and opinions expressed in any guest post featured on our site are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the YCS team as a whole.]

The fall is slowly approaching and it’s time to get ready for the fashion switch. I am a huge fall person because I love layers, light jackets, and the lack of bright colors (don’t judge me). Every fall my friends and I follow a prep guide to help us handle the changeover of our closets. Here are the four steps to make this transition go smoothly.

The Closet:

When getting ready for a new season and getting your look together, your closet should be your first stop. You have to see what you have, what you don’t have, and what you want to get rid of. At the end of every summer I like to get rid of items because, a lot of times, if you’re shopper like me, by the next summer those pieces will not be needed. Since you won’t be wearing so many bright colors in the fall, I would recommend hitting the consignment shops to sell sell sell. Since I am all about the fall and winter, my closet is ready for the changes.


The Barber:

One thing women can not go without is a great stylist. Just like women, men need to have a great barber on speed-dial. Normally, I have two ways I like to keep my hair throughout the year. In the [colder months], because it can get a little cold, I like to keep some hair on my head.  [This is a contrast to] the low and dark all around cut I stay with during the spring and summer. [To transition in the fall, have your barber take] half off the top [with] a slight fade to keep it nice and dark. If you’re a guy that keeps it simple all year long, then you’re ahead of the curve. But, we all know that great feeling you get from a fresh new cut.


The Tailor:

You can’t start the fall off without two new suits; so, if you don’t have a great tailor, it’s time to find one. Now, you’re going to ask why two suits right? Well, I will tell you your closest isn’t right without a black suit and a nice blue suit. A nice blue suit and a black suit are standard in a true Fashionable Joe’s closet. I am an Italian cut kind of guy; the slick angles that [this cut] gives fits me. If you followed my first step, The Closet, then you shouldn’t have a problem mixing and matching the shirts in your closet with these new suits.


The Shoes:

A good pair of shoes will always make an outfit. You thought girls were the only ones that loved shoes? Any real Fashionable Joe will always be the one to update his closet with a new pair of kicks. Since we are just doing an update for the fall, we will stick to the standards – a nice black shoe and brown shoe will do the trick. There is nothing like an all black and white look, [like] a white shirt and black tie, to go with a new black suit. [Wear your] blue suit, white shirt, and blue tie with your brown shoes. My suggestion is to have at least four pairs of shoes in your closet to keep a solid, standard overview.

I hope you guys are getting pampered for the fall because I know I will be. If you followed my guide then you will be ready for the curve that the fall will bring.

Fashionable Joe
Twitter & Instagram: @fashionablejoe

About the Author

When I was about 14 years old I began to love fashion. I read InStyle Magazine daily and always kept up with the fashion world the best way I could. Believe me, I didn’t look the part, by any means; but inside I was all about style. What really helped [me] was [the fact that] my family was always known for being well dressed. The men in my family stayed in a brand new suit and, in my grandfather’s eyes, learning how to tie a tie was a MUST growing up. 

In high school I knew I was going to be a designer. [I was] different than a lot of my friends that wanted to work in fashion [because] I wanted to design clothes for men and not dresses. Something about wearing a brand new suit felt right.  I applied to schools to be a fashion designer but life took me on a different route. I fell into fashion photography once I got to the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. I shot for Wilhelmina, got published in a couple of magazines, and it really became clear to me that fashion was where I was going to be. 

Designing fell in my rear-view mirror; but you know what they say, “those that don’t design, style!” Now, years later, Fashionable Joe is born. Writing felt more comfortable. Why not mix some writing with my photography and just become a journalist?

Men’s Style: If the Hat Fits

 By Donte’, Men’s Style VIP

Sometimes you may find yourself in a situation where you get all dressed up to go out, but you realize your outfit does not appear in reality as it did in your head. It may be lacking that special something that completes the look you were going for. Everyone should have a “go-to” accessory that they can pull out in case of such a fashion emergency. For me, that accessory is the fitted hat!

I am fully committed to the idea that my fashion identity is the urban gentleman (foreshadowing a future post maybe?). I have no issues with wearing a fitted hat with any style of dress. I’ve worn them with casual clothes, with business attire, with semi-formal wear, and even with formal wear (don’t judge me). My favorite is a grey and black Orioles fitted that I bought myself for Christmas. I tend to not wear them as much in the summer months because they can make you sweat a little and I don’t want to mess up my Mohawk, but when it’s cool you will more than likely catch me with one on 90% of the time.

There are a couple of reasons why a fitted hat is my “go-to” accessory. They help fix a bad hair day (Yes, men have bad hair days too!). You know, those days when you haven’t been to the barbershop in a while and you aren’t looking as sharp as you’d like. If you notice it, then trust me when I say that everyone else notices it too. A fitted hat covers all that up and as long as you don’t have to take it off, most folks will never know that your barbershop appointment isn’t until tomorrow.

They also serve as an accessory for those that don’t get into accessories.  They help to create a color palette for any outfit.  If you wear a solid color shirt, try using the fitted hat to create a complimentary color scheme or even color block with colors you wouldn’t normally put together. (If you don’t like it, you can always take the hat off right?). You can also use the hat to pull out secondary colors in a plaid shirt or to accentuate a color in a patterned shirt.  This is an opportunity to experiment with creating your color story. You should be sure to have at least one fitted in a neutral color. This way, you have one that goes with everything in your closet.

So what’s your “go-to” accessory? Let me know that item you can fall back on when you’re having a fashion crisis and need an easy fix. Feel free to drop me a note and let me know what’s on your mind.

Men’s Style: A Day at the Pool

 By Donte’, Men’s Style VIP

August is upon us and that means pool parties and day parties galore.  The end of the summer is great for these types of parties because it’s not as hot and miserable outside as it is earlier in the summer.  This post is all about what to wear when you get the invite to chill poolside on a warm August day.

There are two types of people who go to pool parties: those that plan to get in the pool and those that don’t.  For those that don’t, it’s simple, dress cool and comfortable and wear something that will keep you as dry as possible.  That means break out those T-shirts, fedoras, and flip flops, but try to avoid denim if at all possible.  Besides being hotter than most materials, it fades when it gets wet and you don’t want that drama if someone decides to be funny and splash you!   Colored chinos, khakis, and linen are your go-to options here.


Men’s Style VIP Donte’ looking good on his way to a day/pool party.

Now some of you have worked all winter and spring to chisel your bodies to perfection so that you could use this moment to show it off at the pool.  Others are just brave enough not to care.  Here are some tips for you if you decide to shred the shirt and bare all:

If you are tall and thin, opt for board shorts (pictured below) rather than traditional swimming trunks.  They are the shorts without the typical lining in them and are a little longer (coming down to the knee).  They sit a little lower on your waist, which is ideal for a longer torso and for showing the cut in your abs.  Brighter colors and louder patterns are also good for you as you have the body type to pull it off.

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If you have a bit more of a belly, there are some things you can do to trick the eye and make you look thinner.  Stay away from board shorts! As I mentioned before, they sit lower in the waist, which will only serve to emphasize your belly, not hide it.  Look for the traditional swimming trunks (pictured below) that are shorter and expose more leg.  This makes you look taller and draws attention away from your midsection.  Also, opt for darker colors or solids.   The louder patterns emphasize the division between your midsection and knee, which makes you look shorter.

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Hopefully these tips have helped someone out there.  When you look good, you feel good and I want everyone to feel like a VIP.  Let me know if you have any other tips for the readers.  Share your vision and let me know what you think.

Men’s Style: What to Wear to a Summer Wedding

By Donte, Men’s Style VIP

A note from Erika: This is Part 1 of a two-part series about what to wear to summer weddings.  Donte will be helping out the fellas; and, on Friday, Erika will cover the ladies.  Enjoy!


The months from June to October are considered to be the peak of “wedding season”.  Accordingly, I know several people who are getting married over the next couple of months and I plan to attend a few weddings.  Weddings suggest lots of pictures, so I’m here to offer you some tips on what to wear to a summer wedding so that you are looking your most stylish for the paparazzi.

My interpretation of the rules for summer wedding wear is not that different from the other seasons.  You can still wear the standard suit or tux to the event, depending on what the dress code calls for, but the main difference will be in the fabric and color choices.  Summer is all about staying cool.  You should stay away from materials such as velvet and silk during this season so that you don’t stain the fabric with sweat, especially at an outdoor wedding.  You will likely feel like you’re in a sauna and no one has time to be stopping the wedding because you passed out from dehydration!

If the wedding calls for formal or black tie then you should still wear a tuxedo or dark suit.  For the summer, try switching things up by wearing a white or light grey tuxedo jacket instead of the standard black.

If the wedding calls for semi-formal, you have a little more flexibility during the summer months.  Semi-formal wear calls for a jacket and tie.  Lighter colors are acceptable and make more of a statement during the day, so try out light grey, khaki, or tan.  Darker hues work better for evening weddings, so opt for charcoal, chocolate, or navy if you want to deviate from the classic black attire.  You can also play with fabrics such as tweed, linen, and seersucker, which are acceptable during the summer months.  Your coat and pants do not have to match, so you have the ability to mix it up and try different looks (see the feature pic for this article).

Summer casual attire allows you the most flexibility and freedom to experiment with color, fabric, and style.  This may typically be the dress code for outdoor weddings or weddings very early in the day.  A jacket and tie is not necessary.  Feel free to rock those braces or suspenders, a vest, or even a jacket and shirt without the tie.  The bolder the colors you wear (think coral, light blue, or yellow), the more casual the outfit.

Are you attending any weddings this summer?  Feel free to post photos, share your style with the readers, and post a comment.

Summer Essentials

By Erika, Resident Fashionista

Style doesn’t happen in a vacuum.  At least not as far as I’m concerned.  I’m constantly looking to my seriously stylish friends and favorite fashion & style bloggers for fresh ideas, the latest trends and inspiration.  For the YCS list of summer essentials I got together with some of those friends and fashion bloggers to find out exactly what they can’t live without.

Check out what they had to say below!

The Fashion Bloggers

Clearly Taja and Karima are onto something – they both picked similar summer essentials!  Check out Taja’s website, Curvy Urbane, for a variety of make-up, fashion and style tips and ideas – all of which are totally affordable (my wallet thanks her).  Skinny Minority was started by Karima and focuses on embracing your curves and living a healthy, and completely stylish, lifestyle.  Karima’s recipes are some of my faves!  Both women also offer styling, closet organization and wardrobe concierge services.

Taja, Owner/Blogger, Curvy Urbane

Taja says, “My first summertime essential would have to be a super cute, dramatic sandal! One that can take me from a Zoo Trip with the kids to a walk through a festival with the girls.  Secondly, A maxi dress for those unbearable weather days when you still want to look cute but don’t want to wear much. I’m loving the selections that Forever 21 has.”

Where to buy Taja’s essentials:  Sandals  I  Maxi Dress

Karima, Stylist/Wardrobe Concierge/Blogger, Skinny Minority

“Embellished [sandals add] just the right amount of pop for any summer look; plus they are comfortable. If you’re going to wear flats [they] should pack a punch,” says Karima.  “Flowy skirts and dresses are perfect for hot temps; they’re cool, feminine and comfortable. Effortless.”

Where to buy Karima’s essentials:  Sandals (similar styles)  I  Skirt/Dress

Summer essentials FINAL

The Stylish Friends

As a graduate of Howard University, it’s only natural that my friends are uber stylish – it’s what we Bison do.  Darby and Lloyd consistently prove to be two of the most stylish friends I have.  Darby, author of Choices, Voices and Sole, leaves me insanely jealous of her ability to a) mix and match patterns and b) take fashion risks that always prove to be successful (I’m thinking specifically of a pair of hot pink leggings).  Lloyd is a lawyer and all around big deal.  Lloyd is always impeccably dressed for every occasion and spends some of his free time ensuring that the next generation of young men continue to be stylish through the Kappa Beautillion sponsored by the Burlington-Camden Achievement Foundation.

Darby, Writer/Editor/Blogger, Choices, Voices and Sole

Darby’s picks?  “Redken Hair Sun Screen – especially when I have a color in my hair, which is often, it’s the perfect way to make sure my color stays it’s shiny best and my hair stays protected out in the sun.”  She also recommends, “Colorful nail polish – whether it’s a burnt orange/coral, a sky blue, a lime green, or a bright red – summer is my time to play around with the nail polish colors I use. Normally, I stick to a pale pink or other neutral colors throughout the year, if I wear nail polish at all, but in the summer – I always want to pick it up just a notch.”

Where to buy Darby’s essentials: Hair Sunscreen  I  Bright Nail Polish

Lloyd, Lawyer & All Around Big Deal (Kappa Beautillion)

“My two summertime essentials,” says Lloyd, “[one], a pair of sandals.  It takes a confident man to put on a pair of sandals.  So you have to make sure the sandals are show stopping (because you’ll garner attention) and make sure you have a pedicure (because no one wants to see nasty feet).  Since you can only wear them for 3 months tops, you don’t want to spend a lot of money on them.  My secret:  buy them at the end of the summer when they’re on sale and keep them in the closet for 9 months until its warm again.  My faves are my pair of Bally sandals.  [Two], a pair of aviator sunglasses—I have a round face, so a pair of aviators works best on my head.  My faves are my Fendi aviators.”

Where to buy Lloyd’s essentials: Sandals (similar)  I  Aviators (similar, Ray Ban)

My Picks

Full disclosure – I originally planned to tell you all that a pair of cool sandals and summer maxis are summer essentials.  However, I think Taja and Karma set us straight.  So what are my picks?  First, a cool sunhat.  They are stylish, sexy and super practical.  I’m currently coveting the hat pictured above from Banana Republic.  Second, I SWEAR by Laura Mercier Oil Free Foundation Primer.  This is perfect for the summer because it keeps you from being all gross when the weather is hot.  I mix a dab of primer with my foundation to create my own tinted moisturizer.

Where to buy my essentials: Sunhat  I Foundation Primer

So, what summer essentials would you add to the list?  Weigh in below!

Your Chic is Showing,

Erika's Signature

Men’s Style Series: Does This Look Good?

By Ean, Men’s Style Master

Sitting here trying to figure out the best way to introduce myself and my aesthetic to the readers of YCS has been a difficult task.  I sit here completely thankful that the creator of YCS Erika has given me a chance to reach out to the male readers of YCS.

Being that I’m taller than the average male (YCS Erika: He’s 6’7″, ya’ll!), I have the daunting task of trying to find clothes that works with my body type.   Like many other males around the world, most of us do not fit into styles of clothing that we see the picture perfect models wear walking down the runways of Paris, NY, Milan, and London.

Often I see individuals with either very nice pieces on which are assembled totally wrong or wearing an outfit that you just look at and say to yourself “that outfit is all types of wrong!” With that being said, my first post series for YCS readers will be titled, “Does this look good?”  I want our readers to not only keep their personalities in their style of dressing but also ensure that their daily outfits don’t become flops because they made basic mistakes in styling themselves.

“Does This Look Good?” Tip 1:  Saggy…Baggy WTF!

As I get older and refine my style in clothing, the idea of wearing baggy/saggy pants or wearing an over-sized hoodie is completely out the question.  In my opinion, sagging should just be left for the jail cell and famous rappers who have to maintain an image and get the street credentials.   Gentlemen, there is nothing wrong with buying a pair of pants that actually fit your body type.  I’m not saying that you need to go and buy male jeggings (YCS Erika: mmmmeggings anyone?) where you are 2 seconds away from starting a fire; but your pants shouldn’t be so loose that you are altering your walk just to keep your pants up.  A nice pair of pants with a little bit of room is the ideal pair of pants because you have room to tailor the pants to your body style.  There is nothing more powerful and refreshing in seeing a man wearing a nice tailored/fitted outfit.


Men’s Style: The Ultimate Suit and Tie – The Tuxedo

By Donte, Men’s Style VIP

In fashion, there are styles that are simply timeless. Justin Timberlake’s most recent album “The 20/20 Experience” has everyone on their “Suit and Tie” ish these days. With the constant push for everyone to get their “grown man” on, pieces that cater to timeless and classic fashion never seem to go out of style.

donte tux 1

As a man of a certain age, I’ve often been invited to and put on events for various organizations. I’ve also been invited to events that my friends have had when celebrating life events (i.e. weddings, birthdays, etc.). A lot of these events call for “black tie” or formal wear. With prom season in full effect, the rules for black tie events even apply to you younger gentlemen as well.

I’m here to offer some advice for those of you who dare to upgrade from the standard suit to the ultimate suit and tie so that you will avoid a fashion faux pas when you get invited to your next black tie event.

  1. Suits are fine anytime, but do NOT wear a tuxedo before 6pm Unless you are a rebel and are intentionally trying to break the style rules in the name of fashion (don’t forget that you too can look foolish doing this), then you should save your tuxedo for black tie events. Accordingly, black tie events usually begin after 6 pm (if it begins before this time then there is a different issue – Erika concurs here). A standard suit is perfectly acceptable for events beginning both before and after 6 pm, regardless of if the event calls for black tie. Just try to keep it simple with the color combinations (like black suit – white shirt) so you don’t stand out too much.
  2. You should wear a tuxedo shirt with a tuxedo
    Unlike a suit, which allows you to wear any type of dress shirt, a tuxedo calls for a specific type of shirt. The tuxedo shirt often has the pleats in the front of it and comes with the black studs through the button loops. It’s ok to take the studs out, but they give the shirt a more classic look.
  3. Add personality through accessories only
    Let’s face it; a tuxedo is like a uniform for black tie. Most people, if they follow the style rules, will look pretty similar to each other (which is often the point at these types of events). A black bow tie gives you that classic look. If you want to add personality and character to your black tie look, do it through accessories, such as the bow tie, suspenders, vest, or cummerbund. What you don’t want to do is stand out by wearing a baby blue or purple tuxedo…you’ll look like you belong at a 70’s prom or in the movie Dumb and Dumber.
  4. No belt loops in pants
    We hear time and time again that fit is important and that you should get your suit or tuxedo tailored. It is especially important for tuxedos because there is no option to wear a belt. As a matter of fact, tuxedo pants don’t even have belt loops! If you lose some weight after having it tailored or the fit is a little big, your best option is to wear braces with them so that your pants stay up.

donte tux 2

So what are some myths you’d like to de-bunk about the tuxedo? If you have any tips you’d like to provide or have any questions, feel free to comment, share your vision, and let me know what’s on your mind.

Men’s Style: Through the Looking Glass

Hey guys (and dolls)! Today I have a special treat! Our Men’s Style Contributor Donte, from Visions of a V.I.P, has shared his first guest post with us! It’s all about his style accessory at this summers hottest events – day/rooftop/pool parties. Gentlemen, take note and add this accessory to your wardrobe ASAP. And ladies, if you really love your man, cop this for him. And if you’re single, cop them for yourself! Thanks Donte for helping us step up our summertime fly!

Your Chic is Showing,


Summertime for me means that every other weekend someone is having a day party, a pool party, or a rooftop party. Accordingly, I’ve been invited to a daytime / rooftop / pool party this weekend to celebrate three of my frat brothers’ birthdays. You would think that the first thing I would pack is swim trunks. Not so much. Despite this being a pool party, my essential item has nothing to do with swimming, it has everything to do with what goes on outside the pool. I mean, most people don’t go swimming at pool parties anyway right? My must have item for any pool party or day party is actually sunglasses.

There are several reasons why sunglasses are essential for me at these types of parties. I’ll give you my top three:

1. They make me feel great
I’ll admit that I don’t have many accessories in my wardrobe (hey, I’m working on it), so this is an opportunity to wear one of the few that I do have. Whenever I put on sunglasses, I feel like I instantly go from mild mannered to rock star. With fashion, my belief is that anything that makes us feel good is a win, so if glasses make me feel great then my confidence is on another level when I’m strolling through the party. There is nothing more attractive than a confident man right?


2. They hide what lies beneath
B.o.B. said it best in his song lyric “you can’t see past my shades”. People tell me all the time that I am out of control when it comes to my facial expressions and side eyes. I guess I can’t help it. It also never fails that there will be plenty of side eye material at a day party, rooftop party, or pool party, because there is so much inappropriate activity going on. Therefore, it’s in my best interest to wear sunglasses so that I don’t offend anyone by giving them the dirtiest of looks when they look or act a fool. I’m just doing my part people.

3. When else could I do this?
My friends and I often give side eyes (see #2) to people who wear sunglasses in the club, at a house party, or at night time. If it’s already dark then there is no need for that. You’re likely just doing the absolute most and unknowingly coming off as foolish. To the contrary, daytime parties, pool parties, and rooftop parties are the most appropriate places to wear sunglasses so you best believe I’m not passing up that opportunity!

So what are some of your essential items for a daytime, rooftop, or pool party? What’s that one thing that can make you feel your flyest? Let me know what you think!