YCS Guide to Spring: Spring at-TIE-r

By Donte, Men’s Style V.I.P

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My last post highlighted colorful spring socks as accessories that could enhance your spring wardrobe. This post highlights another accessory that can have a similar effect, a tie. Although they are both small accessories, they both can make a huge impact on your style.

Wearing a tie has often been synonymous with formal attire; however, they can be worn casually as well. A nice blazer, button-down shirt, and tie combination can be worn to a spring wedding, to the office, or to an after-hours night on the town. They are easy to change to give a pop of color to your upper body and can help to create a nice spring color scheme.

Whether it’s a standard tie, skinny tie, or bow tie, they come in all different colors and patterns. You can likely find any type of tie that you can think of to go with your desired outfit. Below are a few that I’ve pulled out for this spring. How do you rock your tie?

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YCS (Men's) Guide to Spring: Sock Game

By Donte’, Men’s Style VIP

This Friday marks the first day of spring!  That means cleaning out those closets, packing away those heavy winter sweaters, and pulling out those warm weather clothes.  Spring is a time full of color and my wardrobe tends to reflect just that!

This year I am going to attempt to draw inspiration from one of the most neglected areas in my wardrobe…SOCKS.  My friends seem to have pretty nice sock collections (especially Esquire and Mr. Detroit), so I am challenging myself to step up in that area.  A little touch goes a long way and a nice sock is a small, often inexpensive item that can change your entire look and take you to the next level of fashion.

Since they aren’t always visible, socks can add a touch of surprise to your outfit.  They can be as colorful or mute as you like and they don’t have to match the pattern or color scheme of your shirt or pants.  In fact, they stand out even more if they don’t match the pattern or color scheme of your other clothing items.  They provide the perfect starting point for me to start experimenting with new pattern and color combinations.

Here are some of the new players in my sock game that I’ll be trying out this spring.  I’m pretty excited to start!  Let me know what you think.

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Men's Style: Birthday Suit Chic

By Donte’, Men’s Style VIP

So it’s that time of year again when a certain someone is about to be another year older.  Yes…yes…my birthday is quickly approaching (Ugh!).  For those of you that don’t know us personally, both myself and YCS Erika were born two days apart (Me – March 1st, Erika – March 3rd).  (Sidenote: I also share a birthday with Ke$ha and Justin Beiber).  That means this coming weekend will be all about birthday behavior for both of us.  The biggest question will be “what to wear?”

Some people treat their birthday like a national holiday.  I guess I’m no exception.  Any chance I get to party the night away, is welcomed.  Specifically, I treat my birthday the same way I treat New Year’s Day (don’t laugh).  It’s not just because it’s the first of the month, but it’s more because I feel like my birthday is my personal new year and a chance to start fresh.  I keep this in mind when selecting my outfit for the occasion and for whatever events may occur.

Dressing for your birthday should be all about standing out from the crowd.  It’s a day that’s all about you right?  You should have at least one statement piece that draws attention to you.  I usually try to wear something new.  Take it as an opportunity to wear something bold and daring and that you love.  It’s your moment!

Here are some of the looks I’ve worn on past birthdays.  What does your birthday suit look like?

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25th Birthday
I had a “Black Hollywood Party” in Atlanta in which my guests had to wear all black and my hosts had to wear silver. Of course that didn’t apply to me…

29th Birthday Me and Erika had a joint birthday party

29th Birthday
Me and Erika had a joint party.

30th Birthday

30th Birthday
I had a “30 Shades of Grey Party” with my frat brother Rashad in NYC. Guests had to wear at least something grey

Men’s Style Spotlight: The Bonobos Gift Guide

By Donte, Men’s Style VIP

What do you get for the guy that has everything?  If you’ve ever found yourself asking this question, I have a one-word answer for you…Bonobos.  With the holidays quickly approaching, I’m here to let you in on, considerably, the best-kept secret to ease your shopping woes and help you find the perfect gift for a special guy in your life.

Bonobos was started in 2007 by a couple of guys who were searching for better clothing after they couldn’t find pants or shirts that actually fit and hated the hassles of traditional shopping.  They sought to create a greater shopping experience and have evolved into a respected brand for men’s style.  Consumers may shop Bonobos online at www.bonobos.com, make an appointment at of one of the Guide Shops (if there is one in your area), or even find it in Nordstrom’s.  I would have a hard time endorsing products I haven’t seen or tried myself, so I made an appointment at the guide shop located at the company’s headquarters here in NYC.  Here is a recap of my experience and a breakdown of some of the many items you might want to get for your guy.

When I walked into the shop, I was paired with a guide who took my measurements and picked few items for me to try on.  The guide shops do not carry merchandise for purchase at the store, but they allow you to see all the items in person and order them on the spot (with free shipping!).  I wasn’t able to see any of the accessories because they did not carry them in that guide shop, but the clothes were amazing!  Some of my favorites were:

Gingham print grey shirt (1) – This was the first item I tried on…and I didn’t take it off for a long while.  Not only was it a perfect fit, but it had a slimming effect that I really liked.  There were several color combinations available, but my favorite color is grey, so of course I went with this one.

Grey Henley (2) – This shirt was very comfortable because of the material.  Usually Henley shirts are pretty thin, but this one is more like a sweatshirt.

Pants (3) – The pants at Bonobos run a little bit long, but I like mine that way.  The important aspect was how they fit around the waist.  These pants that I tried on were so comfortable and they passed the “sit test”, meaning I could sit down and they did not pull around the thighs.  Definitely a good investment if you are looking for some pants…and they have them in almost any color to match your style.

Sweaters (4) – There were so many different sweaters in the shop that I could not try them all, but these were my favorite.  The black one is cashmere and is incredibly soft.  I paired that one with a t-shirt and some jeans and it looked great.  The other looked great over the Gingham print shirt (see above) and on its own.

Shoes (5) – It was a snowy day in NYC when I came for my appointment, so I had on boots.  I wasn’t looking for shoes, but I tried on this pair so that I could make sure the length of the pants I tried on were appropriate.  I must say that I was very pleased with how these shoes looked with both jeans and chinos.

There is a lot more to explore at www.bonobos.com, so feel free to go on and look around to see what you find.  If you find yourself shopping for the guy that has everything, check it out.  I enjoyed my shopping experience and purchased quite a few items.  Mission accomplished.  Good luck!

Details about the items featured can be found on the YCS Polyvore page.

The full Bonobos Gift Guide can be found on their website: http://www.bonobos.com/giftguide.

Seasonal Trend: Men Can Rock Colored Pants Too

By Donte, Men’s Style VIP

One of the trends I’ve noticed in recent weeks has been colored pants. Admittedly, I have also developed a love for them and have incorporated them into my wardrobe. This is a noticeable change from the days when men simply stuck to denim with an occasional and adventurous venture to khaki. Even with the movement toward colored pants, a lot of the more daring and trendsetting gentlemen tended to only wear them in the summer months when the style rules seem more relaxed.

This post celebrates the new trend toward colored pants and provides some tips for wearing them in the fall and winter months. They can really help to get you noticed and take your style to the next level. It’s all about the hue and the color story you desire to tell.

The easiest way to pull them off is with color blocking. Try to keep the shirt and upper body in a more solid/neutral color, black, or white so that you really highlight and draw attention to the lower body. If you are willing to try it, this is a great time to use contrasting colors. Be wary of using monochromatic color schemes here only because you don’t want to overdo it with some of the colors suggested. You may be pegged a little obnoxious wearing all red everything, but hey, it’s fashion…maybe you can pull it off!

Here are some of the noticeable color trends for fall and winter 2013, what they say about you, and some hues that work well in that color family. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Red

  • A bold standout color
  • Exudes confidence
  • Draws lots of attention
  • Hues: Blood Orange, Fire Engine, Cherry, Rust, or Maroon

    Orange

  • Similar to red, but a toned down version
  • Draws a similar amount of attention
  • Try to stay away from the neon tones
  • Hues: Tangerine or Burnt Orange

    Blue

  • Color option for the less audacious
  • Alternative to denim
  • Hues: Cobalt, Cerulean, Ice or Frosted shades

    Purple

  • Merging of red and blue
  • Majority of the designers have gravitated to the darker end of the scale
  • Hues: Lavender, Eggplant, Wine

    Green

  • Not as gaudy as red
  • Not as plain as blue
  • A neutral and versatile option
  • Complements blue and yellow
  • Contrasts with purple
  • Seen as a way to complete a color blocking scheme with most colors
  • Hues: Forest, Turquoise

    Yellow

  • Toned down by designers over the past year
  • The toned down vibe makes for better versatility
  • Darker hues play off of blue (contrasting color)
  • Brighter options play off the contrast to black
  • Hues: Mustard, Butterscotch, Goldenrod

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    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.

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    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!

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    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.