Tag Archives: Menswear

Chop Style: Turtleneck Sweaters

If you’ve got a turtleneck in your closet, Autumn is certainly the perfect time of year to break it out. Cool enough for a chill to be in the air, but not quite cold enough for coats and mittens, a turtleneck is practical if nothing else.

There may be no single item of clothing in menswear that is more illustrative of the fashion cycle. Unseen anywhere for years or even a decade at a time, every once in a while some would-be brilliant designer decides to run one down the catwalk in the fall, and it’s been worn so many wrong ways by the first snow that it goes back into hibernation for several more years. It doesn’t have to be this way though. You can look good in a turtleneck no matter how far out of fashion they fall. All you’ve got to do is follow the rules.

Robert Redford

Paul Newman

Miles Davis

Rule #1: Don’t accessorize. A turtleneck is something of a statement piece. Let it speak for itself. Once you start adding in jackets, scarves, hats or anything else the whole thing begins to look clumsy very quickly.

Rule #2: Stay in shape. Just because you’re spending more time indoors and looking forward to holiday parties doesn’t mean a turtleneck is the right answer for covering up any extra winter weight. Whether your sweater is a giant fluffy chunky thing or a slim-fitting cashmere item; if you’re pear shaped, it will be pear shaped too.

Rule #3: Your sweater should be darker than your pants. While the opposite is usually true, somehow a “negative image” works best for turtlenecks. Buy a darker shade and pair it with off-white jeans, faded khakis or something similar.

Rule #4: Wear a good pair of boots. A turtleneck sweater is a pretty substantial thing, so you’re going to need some substatial footwear to match it. You should have a decent pair of boots in the closet, but if you don’t make sure you’re at least wearing leather shoes. You just can’t pull this off in a pair of Vans.

Rule #5: No mock necks! If you’re going to do it, do it right. Get a full fold-down neck. There’s probably not anyone on earth that can pull off a mock turtleneck.

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Chop Style: How to Dress for Summer

Just do this… all Summer, all day long, every Summer, every day. These sons of bitches are so goddamn dapper that poor Brigitte Fossey can’t decide which one of them to devour first… and third.

Martin Sheen, Brigitte Fossey, and Sam Neill at Cannes, 1981.

If you ever wanted to know how to dress for Summer, cancel your GQ subscription and pay no mind to the blogs and the mall. Just do this. See how they’re standing on the middle of a beach in jackets and not looking overdressed? That’s style.

Wearing this in Baltimore could literally take you from the office to happy hour to the ballgame, from dinner at Bluegrass to Flicks on the Hill, or from a day at the zoo to a night on the Avenue. It’s also got the subtle advantage of being absolutely timeless. This photo is 30 years old, and it’s still going to look fresh 30 years from now.

Whatever you’re doing this Summer, do it in this.

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Chop Style: Best Summer Flip Flops

We’re reluctant to admit that we may need to acquire a decent pair of flip flops.

Now, we do not recommend sandals of any type for the men of Baltimore. You’re a grown man in a major city after all, not a dirty hippie at Bonnaroo. The only time sandals become acceptable for general wear is when you’re in very close proximity to a body of water. The kind you can swim in; the harbor doesn’t count, but swimming pools do.

We don’t find ourselves by the pool often enough to warrant sandal ownership, but now that Spring has sprung we’re getting a lot more use from the outdoor living spaces here at the Chophouse. We could use a pair of sandals for lounging on the decks, taking out the trash, or even popping over to the corner store. We haven’t got anything that’s really good for just slipping on briefly, and as we’ve already discussed, socks are not optional for shoes. So we might need sandals, and the very best sandals are flip flops. Here are three options we like at Macy’s, which all look great and cost about $30.

Clarks 'Jays'

There’s two things we like a lot about these Clarks. Their simple design makes them suitable for everything from running out to move your car to wearing at a beach wedding, and the combination of leather and rubber fuse high style with maximum comfort. $35.

Lacoste 'Molietts'

For an alternative to leather, Lacoste’s Molliets are made of rubber without looking cheap. Anything with that little gator on it is going to come off a little preppy, but as long as you steer clear of Madras shorts or ribbon belts you ought to be able to stay Mobtown Official and Chop Approved. Available in 4 colors. $32.

Tommy Hilfiger 'Lloyd'

Only a few notches lower on the prep factor scale is Tommy Hilfiger, but we like the retro styling of their Lloyd flip flop. These also combine rubber and leather, and if we’re going to have to shell out for a pair of flip flops, we’d like them to last through at least several Summers of sun and wear. We think these will. $30.

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Chop Style: Men’s Swimwear

The Chop’s not a great one for swimming. We might be tempted to sit poolside if there’s a bar cart involved, but dangling our ankles is about as wet as we’ll get. We’re also not too keen on staring at mostly naked men and comparing them side by side. That’s a job better suited to a beautiful woman, and so we’ve enlisted one to write today’s post. Local designer and fashionista Katy Hunchar has style to spare, and here she gives you her swimsuit picks for Summer 2011.

The Short Swim Trunk

The super short swim trunk is my favorite style, hands down. I just love legs! I also love Boris Becker. Though I gather from Google image search that current day B.B. dresses like a playboy, his court style in the late ‘80s was champion. I know he had international tennis star legs, but honestly, it was his crisp short shorts and trim polos that gave him the active man look I love. Here are three solid options, starting with the shortest:

Orlebar Brown's 'Pup': $130

I like Orlebar Brown’s Pup in olive and Paul Smith’s short slim style in navy. Wear them and move effortlessly through summer with free legs and awesomely tan thighs. If these are a little pricey, you can probably find a cheaper version at American Apparel. Pair them with white and gray heather t-shirts.

Patagonia Baggies: $45.

Patagonia’s Baggies are a super simple and versatile sport/swim short. They are perfect for a multitude of activity pairings. Run around the Harbor then stop at the Tiki Barge for a swim! Mow the lawn then go to Safeway. Whatever you want to do, these shorts will take you there. I also recommend these as a replacement for one pair of mesh basketball shorts. (As a side note, Patagonia carries a lot of good simple men’s styles.)

Original Penguin Board Short: $65.

Prints

Skip plaid this season. Stick to classic stripes and bright graphic prints. Nautical stripes are always in style and Penguin has some solid offerings for the seafaring fellow. I like this color-block in bright red and blue. Alternatively, Orlebar Brown’s Eley Kishimoto Dane is the raddest print I’ve seen so far. It looks best in red.

Orlebar Brown 'Dane': £150.

The Floral

This navy and orange floral, again by Paul Smith, is really great. A lot of florals are too busy and look like tropical rainbow explosions. This toned-down navy and orange print is nice and simple. It looks so melty and luxurious.

Paul smith's floral print: $175.

Denim Cut-offs

In middle school my entire gym class had to jump into a swimming pool wearing jeans. While treading water, we had to shimmy them off underwater, pull them to the surface, tie the end of each leg into a big fat knot, and finally, with our last gusts of life-breath, blow them up into makeshift denim life preservers. It is difficult to swim in denim, but absolutely possible.

Denim cut-offs can be worn successfully in a handful of locations: by the swimming hole, at the lake, and on tour while lounging around some random swimming pool. The best cut-offs are super faded and worn to threads. Most likely, you already have an old pair of jeans in your closet that are ready to cut. If you don’t have a suitable pair, reread Chop’s Guide to Thrift Store Shopping Part I and Part II and head over to Value Village. While you’re there, keep an eye out for Boris Becker shorts! Also look for OP tees with faded neon surf graphics to pair with your olive Pups. YES!

Cutoffs are high style at Prettyboy or Beaver Dam, not so much at the gym or hotel pool.

The Board Short

If you insist on wearing the board, look for the shortest pair you can bear and wear them low. Look through collections by skate and surf brands like Hurley, Volcom and RVCA or choose a simple solid red lifeguard style. Avoid contrasting diagonal plaids and prints that simulate laser beams. You know what I am talking about.

Y’all just roll through the water.

Truth is, if you really want to look awesome at the pool or beach this summer, learn how to move well in the water. Ride your bike down to the Patterson Park pool as soon as it opens and LAP IT UP.

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Katy Hunchar is an artist and designer living in Charles Village. Check out her work at lpconcept.com and follow her on Twitter at @chipsnkaty. She is also a lifelong competitive swimmer and has coached swimmers of every age, including NCAA Division I swimming while in grad school.

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Chop Style: Katt Williams, the Worst Dressed Man in America

Well, you may think we’re picking at some pretty low-hanging fruit here. We definitely are, but it has to be said. You can Google it for pages and pages and no one in the entire blogosphere has come out and said it yet… Katt Williams is the worst dressed man in America.

And we mean the worst by miles. Far and away the worst. Worse than Jack White, worse even than Bam Margera; in fact, Williams is high in the running with Gadhafi for worst dressed man in the entire world.

When wearing suits, always make sure your shirt matches your baseball cap.

Now you might think we’re just one of the haters. Haters gonna hate and all of that business. Not true. We might do a little hating on guys like James Franco or Adrien Brody from time to time, but they’re actually well dressed and good looking. We could never hate on Katt Williams, since we have no ambition at all to dress like a schizophrenic homosexual leprechaun middle-school pimp.

It’s hard to fuck with a guy with a Gucci endorsement like Franco, but anyone can steal Katt Williams’ look with a trip through the clearance racks at A.J. Wright or Foreman Mills. Just search out the brightest, most garish pieces you can find. Make sure they’re all 4 sizes too big and don’t match each other at all. A leopard print suit is a basic staple, but a pink suit over a t-shirt is another way to go. With suits that loud though, you have to make sure all your accessories are as gigantic and bright as possible and that your haircut and facial hair are as ridiculous as possible.

If those instructions aren’t precise enough, please to enjoy this video in which Williams takes you into a store and shows you point-by-point how to dress like a complete and utter clown.

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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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Chop Style: Messenger Bags

It recently occurred to us than since we now own a laptop, we’re going to be in need of a bag in which to carry it if we want to take it with us next time we go a-traveling. After all, the TSA is good for more than just groping your grandma and stealing your souvenirs… they also excel at breaking electronics.

We didn’t want to end up with something that looks more like a big, ridiculous piece of luggage, and we’re not too keen on briefcases either, since no one is mistaking us for a businessman anytime soon. So a messenger bag makes for a natural choice.

Besides, we’re also seriously considering buying a bicycle when we come back in May, so a decent messenger bag may end up serving double duty by toting a computer, as well as keeping hands free on a bike. With that in mind, and since we’ve already gone on record as saying fuck leather, we’re probably going to end up with one of the following options. Fendi and Ferragamo they ain’t, but they’re all solid choices for getting around Charm City.

Ben Sherman canvas messenger: $89.

Ben Sherman

We like this Ben Sherman bag, but probably not enough to buy it. We’re mostly including it here because we like the brand and it’s a solid choice for anyone on a tighter budget. It’s probably not worth its price tag, but is likely better than anything else you’ll find at that price. On the plus side it’s well designed and neutral, appearing both modern and classic at once. The downside is that you’re looking at cheaper construction and material than is ideal. The lower grade cotton canvas may fray or open up, and we’d bet the faux-leather lining won’t last long at all. $89.

Fossil 'Ranger' messenger bag: $168.

Fossil ‘Ranger’

A lot of people give Fossil no love, deriding their stuff as cheap, trendy, what-have-you. We’ll grant you that the watches and clothing leave a lot to be desired, but compare this bag to the Ben Sherman above and you’ll see immediately what an extra $79 buys you.

The leather here is genuine, and covers the whole bottom of the bag. The strap is made of the same canvas as the body, as opposed to woven nylon. The closure is mechanical, and not the magnets found on the Sherman or the velcro on even cheaper bags. The interior comes with a dedicated laptop pocket (which is the whole point of this post, eh?) as well as standard zip and slip pockets and is lined with canvas. The Sherman bag has ‘multi-function’ pockets and is lined with…??? Again, maybe not Louis Vuitton caliber, but a very solid bag for the money. $168.

Jack Spade wool felt snap messenger bag: orig. $335.



Jack Spade

Update: The website is now showing this bag as ‘unavailable’

Wool marks a big step up from canvas, and this 80% wool blend, leather lined number from Jack Spade is (ahem) almost worth its ridiculously high price tag. Lucky for us, it’s been marked down significantly, and Jack Spade is offering an extra 25% off even on sale items with the online code 25off until 1/17/11. That’s enough to make it very competitive price-wise with the brands above. We’re kind of torn between this and the also-on-sale soft waxwear folded messenger which is made of waxed canvas and is actually cheaper than the Fossil with both discounts. Wool: $335 $175.88 Canvas: $255 $133.88.

Commuter Bag by Sketchbook.

Sketchbook ‘Commuter’ Bag

Finally, we come to our only option that’s not made in China. A Twitter follower turned us onto the shop of Etsy seller Sketchbook yesterday, and we’re suitably impressed. The design suits us both aesthetically and practically, and you’ve got to love anything that’s 100% natural. Nothing in here but wool, cotton, leather and steel. You’ve got to cut out a hell of a lot of middlemen to get something of that kind of quality for this price, but that’s the great thing about an Etsy find. We imagine there are few things more satisfying than having someone ask ‘Who made your bag?’ and answering ‘Amber Jensen from Minneapolis.’ Plus with a current availability of one item in each color, you can’t get much more exclusive. $140

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