Tag Archives: do’s and don’ts

Chop Style: How to Wear Sunglasses

Okay, Baltimore. Friday night was New Year’s Eve. Saturday night was, well, Saturday night, yes? Time marches on and all of that. If you’re anything like us, your bar or beer fridge is down a few bottles, your liver is running only by sheer inertia, and your head is significantly poundier.

Whether you’re making a walk of shame, creeping out to brunch, or heading out to watch football, if you’ve got the grave misfortune of having to leave the house on a Sunday, especially a Sunday like today, you’re going to need sunglasses.

Aside from their hangover-shielding properties, sunglasses are especially crucial to Baltimore fashion because as anyone who’s lived here more than a week knows, you never look a motherfucker in the eye on the street. Nothing personal, it’s just not something we do.

Funny thing about sunglasses though; get it right, and you’ll draw a lot of looks. Get it wrong, and you’ll draw a lot of stares.

CORRECT:

David Byrne

Sure, they’re big. But they’re not too big. Sure they’re dark. But they’re not too dark. As long as the rest of your outfit is understated, these will always work.

CORRECT:

Frank Sinatra

When most people think of Sinatra, they think of suits and hats. There’s a lot of sun and swimming pools in Las Vegas though, and you don’t wear 3 pieces of wool poolside in July.

CORRECT:

Paul Newman

Find a bad photo of Paul Newman. Go ahead and try… we’ll wait.

INCORRECT:

Bono

It’s almost as if Bono made a conscious effort to become a total douchebag, then made a deliberate search to find the perfect douchebag accessory and make it his personal trademark. Well done, Bono. Truly well done. Those shades look very pretty with your precious little earrings and your black on black on black silk ensemble.

INCORRECT:

Michael Phelps

This look is bad enough to make Dolce & Gabbana turn straight. On the other hand, this is the perfect style to rock when you’re rolling up York Road in an Expedition with McDonald’s wrappers all over the floor, Young Jeezy blasting out the window, and an underage entourage drinking Coors Light in the backseat.

INCORRECT:

Luke Scott

For the record, the Chop is a Luke Scott hater from way back. Even before the recent birther nonsense we’ve been hating on his slumpiness at the plate and his dumpiness in the outfield, his penchant for praying in public and most of all, his sunglasses.

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Christmas Lights

We’re forgoing any Christmas decorations this year. Call it an austerity measure. Call it Grinching. Call it (most accurately) laziness. With the amount of traveling we do every year, and not knowing when we’ll next be home for the holidays, it didn’t seem prudent to invest time, effort and money in decorations that may not see the house-front again for another 3 or 4 years, especially with no wife or children to share in their enjoyment.

With Christmas just 10 days away, we’re guessing that everyone who’s going to decorate already has, so we may be a bit late with this, but we’re certainly not too late to judge the good, the bad, and the ugly as far as Christmas lights in Baltimore go.

We’ve noticed that the vast majority of inner-city rowhouse dwellers are disinclined to decorate at all, and most will only bother with a tree if there’s a Santa-aged kid in the house. It pains us to admit that the County’s got it all over us as far as decorating goes, but no matter which side of the city line you’re on, you can’t go wrong if you’ll follow our advice to the letter.

This house on Peacock Lane in Portland is a masterpiece of taste and understatement. It's warm, welcoming, and wonderful.

Do: Use white lights. When you light your house, the idea is to show off the house not the lighting itself. Colored lights have a way of clashing with each other, and with the features of most houses. With white lights, it’s nearly impossible to go wrong. They can be accented with small strands of red or green lights if you’re really craving a little color, but white effects the soft, warm glow that makes a home look most inviting in the dead of winter.

Do: Work with the symmetry of your house. If you’re going to light up the door, be sure to light up the full length window next to it. Any architectural features like gables or overhangs should be lit, otherwise you run the risk of an incomplete aesthetic. If you have an attached garage, that should be treated as part of the house as well.

Do: Understand that less is more. Resist the urge to compete with your neighbors or add just one more ‘finishing touch.’ Too many lights, wreaths, bows, etc. can go from festive to cluttered very quickly.

Do: Take note of what your neighbors and others are doing. If someone with a house style similar to yours gets it right, don’t be afraid to borrow some of their ideas. Just because you’ve always done it some specific way, doesn’t mean you can’t try something new this year.

Do: Place your tree in the front window. This isn’t mandatory, of course. Some people will want to set up their tree in a non-fronting room. If you’ve got the room and the right windows (bay windows, picture windows) placing the tree at the window will serve to bring the inside out a bit and make the whole effect that much more unified, cozy, and inviting.

Yes, there is actually someone's house under there.

Don’t: Buy any of those giant inflatable snowmen. Just look at the picture. Even with only one of those, your house is a considerable fraction of being that ugly. All those inflatables that light from the inside and require you to run an air compressor half the night are always, always, always tacky. The first Clark Griswold who ever bought one of those probably thought he was pretty clever, but now that Wal-Mart is moving them by the truckload in every town in America they look more ridiculous than ever.

Don’t:Put a bunch of wire statues all over the yard. All those little deer skeletons are junky and trite. One look at them and all we can think is “Welp, that’ll be in a landfill somewhere sooner or later.” That’s not the thought you want in your head at Christmas time. Also, along the same lines, we’d like to mention that we fully endorse natural wreaths and trees.

Don’t:Light deciduous trees. If you’ve got an evergreen, go ahead and light that. Most types of bushes and shrubs are good for lighting as well. Once they lose their leaves though, deciduous trees look dead and have no symmetry. Lights tend to look more like they’re tangled than neatly strung.

Finally Don’t: String all purple lights and football decorations. Christmas is supposed to be about the little baby Jesus. It’s not about the little baby Ray Lewis. Harbaugh, Reed, and Flacco are not the three wise men. The Yinzers in Pittsburgh may have a memorabilia-based economy, but as Baltimoreans, this kind of thing is beneath our dignity.

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Chop Style: Summer Shoes Do’s and Don’ts

Time to get serious Baltimore… serious about summer. The snow is a distant memory, the random rain showers are just about over, and daylight is stretching ever longer. Those trusty old Doc Marten boots you’ve been stinking up all winter aren’t going to cut it anymore. You need to get yourself up to Van Dyke and Bacon or down to Benjamin Lovell or someplace and get your feet right.

Lucky for you, the Chop is here to tell you how to get your feet right. Seeking style advice from GQ, Esquire or the internet at-large is a good start, but these sources are full of effete New Yorkers, Miami Beach wannabe’s, and of course, shoe advertisements, which are not quite the same as advice. In Chop Style, we’ll be telling you from time to time how to dress for Baltimore City since that’s where you live.

So without further ado, the Chop is glad to give you summer shoe choices that will take you from Canton to Hampden in style. (All images and prices are from Zappos.com and all pictures link to purchase page.)

Do’s:

Casual Loafers: Loafers like these Suds by Ted Baker ($135) are a great choice. These were made for pairing with chinos but can go with jeans as well, and they’ll show up without showing off.

Bucks: It’s a shame you don’t see more of these in town, since they’re a classic and they embody the property that all Baltimoreans demand from their clothes… they look better with age. These Kearneys ($89.95) from Florsheim will hold up well. True, Florsheim isn’t the most modern of brands, but they’ve been trying to resurrect their image by bringing Duckie Brown on board. The Kearneys are much the same as the Duckie lace-ups, but with a more classic sole and at fraction of the price.

Desert Boots: We proclaim 2010 the year of the desert boot. It’s hard to go wrong with Clarks ($95), who invented the desert boot, but most any brand will foot the bill. The sand suede pictured above is a little conservative, since one of the best things about desert boots is that they look flash as hell in any color of the rainbow.

Classic Sneakers: We know some of you out there are sneaker freaks. That’s all well and good, but we’re just not big on them. They are handy to have around though, especially during the summer. We say keep it classic, but maybe give the Converse a rest this year, huh? For us these Tretorn T-56’s will do the job, and we strongly recommend buying sneakers in dark colors, since white always goes dingy way too quickly. The best part about these? On sale for $44 (from a mere $55 original sticker).

Don’ts:

Running shoes: Compare these to the T-56’s above and you can easily see that all athletic shoes are not created equal. These are great shoes for running (we suppose) but you can go ahead and leave them in your gym locker, because they just look out of place in a social setting. (New balance MR760, $99.95)

Sandals: These Kenneth Coles ($78) are actually pretty nice sandals. Problem is, you can really only get away with sandals at the water’s edge. Poolside is okay, an open fire hydrant on Montford Avenue is not. Down the ocean is okay, the inner harbor is not. You also have to be very careful about what pants you pair sandals with, since the Chop does not approve of short-pants on grown-ass men.

Clogs: Just don’t. We don’t care if your girlfriend bought you these UGG Heralds ($120) for your birthday. We don’t care if they kind of sort of look like real shoes. Just don’t wear them, because when you do, you make all men everywhere look like schlubs.

Sanuks: Yep. We saved the worst for last. Your shoes say a lot about you, and these things say “Hey Brah, let’s drive the jeep up Gunpowder, put on a Badfish record and get fuuucked uuup. We can always find a job tomorrow, right?” From the quasi-gator green color to the flat foamy soles to the shoddy construction to the Name “Kerouac” ($54.95), these things look like they came straight out of a communal factory run by retarded hippies. The overall effect is similar to the clogs, but they only make you look like a shart, not all mankind.

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