Welcome to Sage Warrior Gentleman

Three Facets of the Modern Man

This is a work in progress and will contain stories, guidance, coaching, art, and design from my experiences working around the world.

I’ve made the biggest mistakes a man can make – and I’ve come back fighting.

I’ve had some phenomenal successes – and will be forever grateful for the opportunities I’ve had.

More than anything now, I want to give back in the way of mentorship and coaching, to men struggling to get their shit together.  I don’t care if you’re 42 or 62, we men fuck up.  It’s a part of who we are.  If we’re smart we learn from each dumbass or ignorant thing we do.  If we’re not – we make them over and over and over again.

So, just wanted you to have something to start with while I finish up this site.  I hope you come back to check us out and tell your friends about it.

Glad to have you here brother,

Jeff

Dude, Your Jacket’s Too Big

Dude - your jacket is too big for you. 

It doesn’t fit you right and it looks, well, awful.  When you go out into the big, bad world in a sport coat or suit that’s too big for you, you get lost in the shuffle.  You prove to the world that you really don’t give a shit.  Show up with an ill fitting suit to an interview and the likelihood of you getting that gig goes way, way down.  Show up looking sharp and confident, and you’ll shine.  If you’re a single guy dating the ladies, man you gotta get this right.  That’s her first impression of you and she knocks of huge points if you don’t have style.  You want results, right?  Cool - read on.

Appearance matters whether you want to believe it or not.  That’s a cold, hard fact and if I can help you just a little bit, I’d like to do that, so follow along with me and let’s get you headed in the right direction.  I accept that this may be a challenge for you so keep an open mind and be willing to make some changes that will help you look and feel more confident.

A jacket - whether the jacket to your suit or a sport coat - needs to fit you properly.  It should be snug but not uncomfortable.  The areas of fit that matter are:

  • Sleeve length
  • Jacket length
  • Shoulders
  • Back at neck
  • Chest
  • Waist

I hear guys say, “Yeah, but I can’t move in it!  And look what happens to the sleeves when I raise my arm way up high like this!”  First, traditional suits aren’t meant to play hoops or hang wallpaper in.  Second, there’s a new wave of action suits that use stretch fabric so problem solved!  Put that damn suit on and go paint your house.

Buying Off the Rack

This means that you’re walking into a store like Macy’s, Saks, Bloomingdales, Belk, etc, and you’re going to the suit department to buy a suit “off the rack”.  They’re displayed usually by designer:

  • Calvin Klein
  • Ralph Lauren
  • Alfani
  • Hartmarx
  • Hugo Boss
  • Kenneth Cole
  • others depending on store

First you have to start off with a jacket that’s close to your size.  You might get lucky and find a great fit right away but chances are that something will have to be altered.  

Suit and Jacket Sizing

These are the same whichever you’re buying.  You’ll see tags like this:  38S, 40R, 42L.  The number is your chest measurement and the following initial is Short, Regular, Long.  Many manufacturers have started selling suite separates, which is a good thing because not all bodies are created equal.  I’m 6’2” and have a longer torso, so what might fit you, probably won’t work for me, even if we’re both around 180.

A guy under 5’9” will most likely need a Short, guys in the 5’10” to around 6’2” are good to go with a Regular, and taller guys are going to need a Long or move to a Big and Tall fit.  These are general guidelines - not absolute truths.  Every manufacturer sizes differently so you have to try things on.

You need to know your chest size so before you head out, so you should measure yourself.  Get a tape measure - you can find them in most any store these days if you’re a single guy - and you want to wrap it around you just under your armpits.  Stand relaxed and natural, and get that number.  I’m sure your wife/significant other will lend a hand with this to make sure you don’t cheat.  And your partner wants you to look great, right?  Who wants to be seen with a slob?  No one!  Okay so, got it?  Good, now you can hit the store.

Find that Number on the Rack

Sometimes a sales person will help you with this, sometimes you’re on your own - just go with the flow. As of a few years ago, some designers and labels are making Slim fit suits as well as the regular fits they’ve been doing for years.  Not much to explain really.  If you’re a fit dude with little to no belly, you may want slim fit.

Find the designer you want, the colors you’re wanting - navy or a grey if this is first clothing purchase for you:  

  • Just out of college
  • Transitioning from field to desk
  • Or, just know you need to up your style game

We'll talk about color, pattern, so in in another blog post - it's a huge subject and deserves its own space.

First rule of thumb for overall jacket length  

If you hang your arms down and the jacket is longer than your cupped hands, it’s too long.  Modern styles are much shorter now so use this as a guide just for maximum length.  A jacket that’s too long actually makes you look shorter so smaller guys, take heed.  

Sleeve Length  

Here’s where most guys get tripped up.  The rest of the jacket fits okay but they leave the sleeves unaltered and too long.  If it falls below your wrist bones and onto your hand, it’s too long.  About a 1/4 inch of your shirt sleeve should be showing.  Get this wrong and you look like a kid wearing your daddy’s jacket.  Where you can sometimes get by with the jacket being longer, this is a dead giveaway that you’re either clueless or braindead.  And I see this so often!  I’ve worked with guys in various industries who walk around with half their hand covered by a jacket sleeve.  Sorry if you’re one of them but hey, you’re here to learn and make some positive changes, right?

Example 1 - slight alteration

Example 2 - extreme alteration

Also notice the different jacket lengths in these picture.  Jacket on right is a more traditional length, and on left you have a shorter, more modern length.

Back Neck 

Turn around and look at the back of the jacket in the mirror.  Don’t hunch, let your shoulders fall naturally.  If there’s a bubble just below the jacket collar, in the middle of your back, you have square shoulders and need to get it fixed.  As with all the other measurements on a jacket, the shoulder slope is cut for the “average” guy.  This is almost always an area where I need an alteration.

The Chest and Waist  

With the jacket on, grab the front right about at your sternum and pull it forward.  If you get anything more than about 3 inches you pulled the wrong size from the rack.  Remember your measurement from home?  Yeah.  If it was 39, that 42 isn’t going to work.  The jackets are cut to allow for a small range of size differences but that only goes so far.  And the sizes only go in even increments:  36, 38, 40, 42, 44, etc.

Here’s where the Slim Fit jackets come into play. They’ll be cut about the same in the chest but most noticeable will be the tighter waist measurement.  With the slims, you get more of a “V” cut.  The shoulders and arms will be snugger as well so I’d advise trying on one to see the difference from the regular cut.

A word about jacket construction

A fully tailored jacket will have an inner lining and shoulder pads.  An unconstructed jacket won’t.  Some will be lined from the neck to about halfway down, others will have no lining at all.  The shoulder pads, from very slight to kind of big depending on the fashion trends, are meant to give a more formal and polished look. You’ll find the unconstructed mostly in sport coats, because they’re meant to be a more laid back version of a jacket.

Conclusion

There you have it.  Look your best whenever and however you can.  On the job or going out, look put-together and things will change for you.  People will look at you with new-found respect and you may get some compliments.  This is part of what being a Gentleman is all about.  

Now get out there and go shopping,

Jeff

Note:  all images from Bing.  I do not own them.

Modern Man. Classic Manners.

Photo by Sean Stratton on Unsplash

Being a man in the 21st century can be a complicated thing for us older guys.  The young guns are coming up in the world - some becoming billionaires in their 30s - and whether you have money or not, one thing is certain, classic manners will never go out of style, and can set you apart from the herd.

Lions like us, men who have been around, done a lot of things, made mistakes and got better with each lesson learned, have an advantage over younger guys with big degrees but no social skills.  And this isn’t confined to the business world.  We’re being judged and sized-up with every interaction we have, and falling back on what we learned as kids, back in the age where minding your manners was key, is a positive thing.
 
So what am I referring to?  Holding the door for people.  Saying thank you and being sincere about it.  Treating service staff of any kind with respect.  Asking about people with the intent of really getting to know and understand them.  Showing compassion.
 
All of these are traits that I believe the modern sage, warrior, and gentleman needs to possess and practice regularly.  They shouldn’t even be things you think about, they should be ingrained in you, in who you are, and in how you behave every day.
 
Things get rough sometimes, I know, believe me I know.  But we have to rise above that and get stronger all the time.  We have value that a lot of younger people in the world don’t understand.  A lot of companies won’t talk to you because their mandate is generally to get the youngest, cheapest talent they can.  
 
But you and I can come to the rescue of many younger people, younger men especially, and many companies.  
 
The world needs a return to manners and compassion.  Us guys over 50 can help usher this back in if we believe we can and if we try.  I’m giving it my best shot every day, in the way I talk to and mentor younger guys.  Sometimes the opportunities fall right in your lap, other times you have to seek them out, and provide the open space for that young buck to trust you and ask you things.  They’re eager to learn – well a lot of them are.
 
You have to admit that when you were 20, 30, 40 – you didn’t want to listen to anybody.  I’m raising my hand really high right now!  I thought I knew it all.  But… I had some really great mentors and although I was stubborn, some of the lessons I thought I’d never need, are with me now and have opened may possibilities for me, as I’m sure some have for you too.
 
Go to it my fellow SWG,
Jeff

5 $20 Style Tips

Style for guys

Every once in a while I’ll give you some pointers like this.  Style is personal and by following a few simple rules, and trying something new occasionally, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you discover about yourself and how your style can evolve.

So, here we go – 5 $20 style tips for you – the Sage, Warrior, Gentleman.

  1. Stretch jeans.  Most companies are starting to make these now including Levis and many of the designer brands.  I’m wearing a pair of Hudsons right now that are the most comfortable jeans I’ve every owned and worn.  You gotta be able to move, dude.
    1. Levi’s 511 Stretch – http://bit.ly/2ZgvPIr
    2. Naked & Famous Stretch – https://amzn.to/2ykqCmS
  2. If your sport coat or suit jacket sleeves fall over any part of your hand, get the sleeves shortened.  A good tailor will show you exactly where they should be.  Listen and obey. It’s also possible that the jacket is just too big for you anyway.  Buy the right size.
  3. Flat front casual and dress pants.  Pleats have been out of style for a long time now, and make you look bigger.  Get with the program and start buying flat fronts.  No matter what brands you like and buy, they all have flat front styles.
    1. Kenneth Cole Reaction – https://amzn.to/2ykCtBC
    2. Calvin Klein – https://amzn.to/2Yv1rgb
  4. Stop wearing your at-home-only duds on flights.  Just stop.
  5. Sharpen your shoe game.  You should have at least three pair of dressy to dressy/casual that you can wear to work, out for dinner or drinks, or on that first date with a new lady.  Guys – women notice this stuff.  They will dismiss you in a heartbeat if you walk in with ugly, shitty, way way way out of date shoes.  Hmmm – good pun there because you will be out of a date quick if you show up in #2 listed below.  Why put that burden on romance?  Look at these:

  1. What I mean by dressy/casual – Cole Haan – https://amzn.to/2YsgZ06
  2. Please don’t ever buy this type of shoe – https://amzn.to/2Ysiuj0

Okay, that’s it for this post.  Follow these guidelines and you’ll improve your style game overnight.  Don’t look like 85% of the guys out there who have no clue how to dress themselves.  I know guys whose wives tell them what to wear!  Learn from these quick tips and be your own damn stylist!

Now go be a modern man,

Jeff

Cost Per Use – Maximize Your Clothing Dollar

Photo by David Lezcano on Unsplash

Every purchase we make in life can be boiled down to one very simple concept:  how much it costs us to use it, and this is especially true for our wardrobe.

The Cost of “Living”

Go out to a bar and have drinks.  Polish off that Manhattan and you gotta pay up for another one if you want to keep rolling.  One use and one use only.  Right?  You drink that drink and get your shine on and that’s it.  You want to do it again – that’ll be $15 sir.  Food is the same.  You can only eat that particular Ribeye one time.  Was it worth the $35 you paid for it?  That’s up to you and only you.
 
Now how about your car – if you’re unfortunate enough to live in a place where you need one of the costliest expenses you will every incur, or, you’re just a car nut and glutton for punishment.  If you pay cash and drive that thing for years and years, just divide the price you paid – we’ll skip insurance and gas and maintenance for now – by the number of months you had/drove/wrecked the car, and you have a cost per use on a monthly basis.
 
Example:  I pay $9000 cash for a used Nissan and drive if for four years.
 
9000/48 = 187.50 per month — not bad, right?  Sell it and get some of your cash back and the number goes down further.
 
How about extending that another 2 years?
9000/72 = 125.00 per month — easy and I think you get the picture.

Now let’s talk about clothes.  Your wardrobe.  

The stuff hanging in your closet that allows you to be presentable to the world can work for you, or it can work against you – in the budget department.  And world meaning colleagues, women (GFs, wives, significant others), other dudes, loan officers, the 16 year old at McDonald’s whose first day happens to be today, small children, and puppies/kittens, etc.

Classic Fashion vs Trendy Fashion

Classic Fashion

Blue shirts.  Navy jackets.  Khaki pants.  Jeans.  Boat shoes.  Rep stripe ties.  Grey suits.
 
These are all classics and because they are so, will last forever in terms of fashion acceptance.  Of course there are degrees of fashion within each but let’s keep it simple for now – we’ll cover some of the other parts of this in another post.
 
The point to get here is very low cost per use.  Each of those items listed above can be worn over and over and over and…  A good blue oxford shirt can last you years and be worn hundreds of times.
 
Here our equation is a bit different.  Instead of a per month cost, we want a per use cost.  Wear this shirt an average of once per week for 3 years and you’ve worn it approximately 156 times.  Divide that by your cost and voila!  You have your cost per use.
 
A good pair of shoes can last you even longer because your feet stay roughly the same size for all of your adult life.  And while our arms and legs stay the same length give or take a centimeter or two, we can’t say that about our waist line can we?  
 
Dude, if you’re in your 50s and can still wear your jeans from your 20s – you are a superstar to the nth degree and we all want to know how you did it.

Trendy Fashion

Ripped up jeans.  Wearing your fucking baseball cap backwards.*  Wearing flip-flops everywhere you go until there’s 6” of snow on the ground.  Scratch that because I was in Wisconsin a couple years ago, it was snowing and raining and slush was 3” high all over and I saw a guy in a restaurant wearing flip-flops.  (*If you’re over twelve and still do this, please stop.)
 
Purple shirts.  Jeans down your ass.  Floral print sport coats.  No show socks – although this one has been around for a while.  
 
Trendy fashion comes and goes quickly so your cost per use is usually very low.  Some things you can really only wear for one season, maybe two so your $500 lime green skinny jeans, with a crotch liner made with silk from worms that only live on a tropical island in the Banda Sea are going to cost you $250 per wear if you’re lucky.  Not money well spent.  Not an investment, just a waste.
 
So, think about this before you spend any more money on clothes.  Your wardrobe is an investment to you.  You’re investing in your style and in people’s perception of you.  Don’t think I’m crazy with that.  I’m sure you’ve read that first impressions count, right?  This what it means.  
 
You walk into that meeting with a sharp outfit, groomed hair, clean teeth and fresh breath, and you greet everyone with a smile and firm handshake with eye contact, and people instantly feel comfortable with you there.  They’ll get that you mean business and will take care of their needs.
 
And while I’m well aware that there are billionaires out there who walk into meetings with jeans and a t-shirt, if you’re not him, don’t do it.
 
Go get ’em fellow SWG,
Jeff

Classic Menswear 101

Classic Menswear

The classics are wardrobe items that have been around, stood the test of time, and keep on going.  Jeans, khakis, blue oxford button down collar shirts, rep stripe ties, navy blazers.  These are all classics now and they will be into the future… well, until we start wearing Star Trek type outfits that is.

The classics float from season to season, and outlast all the trends.  The classics laugh in the face of silly trends.  And here’s the secret to the classics:  you can create countless outfits from the right combination of pieces in your closet.

Photo and styling by your coach.

Classic Combinations to Get You Thinking

Reach for these, put them on, and walk out with the confidence that you look sharp, professional, and comfortable.

Let’s start with a few of the simplest combinations first - pants, shirt, and the right kind of shoes:

  • #1 Flat front khakis and an oxford blue, button down collar shirt, with a brown belt and brown shoes such as: http://bit.ly/2QU3kA2
  • #2 Dark jeans with a white dress shirt, black belt and black shoes like these Eccos that I own: http://bit.ly/2QU3kA2
  • #3 Black flat front pants with a blue and white checked shirt, black belt and classic white sneakers like these:  http://bit.ly/2QU3kA2

Get the shoes right, dude.  There are way too many companies out there making ugly ass shoes and guys keep buying them.  I'll even say that if you do nothing else that I recommend, improve your shoe game.

Alright that's it for today's style coaching session.

Get on it,

Coach Jeff

Style: A Color Palette

Build your wardrobe and style around these foundation colors.

How to Use Color in Your Outfits

Color is the first foundation of a menswear wardrobe.  We'll get into deeper aspects of it in later posts and tutorials so for now, let's break some of this down.

Grey

From black to white, solids and heathers, grey is a must as a staple color in your closet.  Why?  Because grey goes with everything with one exception:  be careful mixing black and deep navy because they can get confused and look like you've mismatched your colors.

These are classic menswear color combinations that will never go out of style.

Blue

Blues, yeah you gotta have the blues.  From navy to light blue spread across your suits, jackets, jeans, shirts, and ties, the blues are the single most important color in your closet.

Blue hint!  Blues can have a green or red tint.  Be careful when mixing blues.

Other Colors

We're going to stop here for now because the other colors are going to require some time.  If you start with what you've learned on this post you'll be ahead of most guys. 

Just work through your closet and take an inventory.  Separate the colors into groups, donate things you haven't worn in over a year, and get that feeling of simplicity that comes with a tight, focused closet.

Peace brother,

Jeff

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