If you’re an Instagram user, you’ve seen the videos. Mostly women, getting into a bunch of different outfits. They pick up a pair of shoes, snap their fingers, and the shoes magically appear on their feet!
Well, I’ve started doing that for menswear! I laughed my butt off while I was editing the video and you know what? It was fun and I’m going to keep doing them.
Dressing well should be an easy and effortless thing. It’s part of what I’ll be teaching here on the site in posts and other content to come. So, take a look at this first one. If you’re on Instagram you can follow me there: @jd.hendrickson or @jefhendrickson or @laughingravenstudio
I was in Cheltenham, UK (hence the rugby pic) when I first heard the news about COVID-19, working on a project with one colleague from Chicago and one local. As we sat in the lounge at the hotel sipping whiskey, little did we know what was about to unfold, and how Earth shattering this virus would be.
I write this on April 13, 2020, otherwise known this year as Easter Monday and the major thoughts occupying my mind are:
How can something like this happen?
How will we move forward after this?
How do I use this opportunity to get laser focused on myself and my contributions?
I created Sage Warrior Gentleman as a means to both explore myself as an older man and to help guide others in doing the same. I have a lot of younger guy friends and most seek my advice in some way or another.
Because I’m a designer and researcher in my full-time day job, I tend to ask a lot of questions and give advice only when asked, and only as directed by the answers I get from the questions that I ask. By day I lead teams in business process research exercises that get to the root of the problem faced, and then I design software or process solutions with my team. This opens up the possibility for discussion on fixes and solutions.
We can do the same now. I’m not suggesting that we’re going to save the world by conquering COVID-19 - although some of us certainly will contribute greatly to that.
What I’m suggesting is that we use this time to really look deeply at our vast pool of knowledge gained throughout the years of work we’ve experienced. Make notes on it all and start to see where the patterns are. Create a Mindmap (get a free version of my favorite one here: https://simplemind.eu/download/free-edition/ ) to start making sense of all of it.
Maybe your career has been very focused - that means you have deep knowledge of a specific subject matter.
Maybe like me your career has been varied, across a few industries - that means you have a broad perspective of many subject areas.
Either way you’ve been around for a while. You've seen trends come and go. You have vast amounts of knowledge and wisdom that you can share with younger men so that they can learn and grow in a positive direction.
And it doesn’t matter in the least what kind of work you’ve done all your life. Young men are coming up with little guidance on how to be better men, kinder men, focused men.
You - as a Sage, as a Warrior, as a Gentleman - can help guide the next generation of men coming in to take over for us. These are our sons, nephews, grandsons, friends, coworkers, and some may even be our bosses.
All I ask is that you give some thought to this. The Pandemic is here and it’s now a major fact of life - there’s no dodging it, and the world will be forever changed by it.
Us older dudes can make a difference if we care to. I’m raising my hand. Care to join me?
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
We'll talk about color, pattern, so in in another blog post - it's a huge subject and deserves its own space.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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 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.
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,
Note: all images from Bing. I do not own them.
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,
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.
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:
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,