Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Inspirations Part II

Just thought I would share a few other photos that are inspiring me in terms of both my life and style:

Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givins in Justified. I really love this show, the first season was great, and I think the style here of Raylan is interesting. southern Federal Agent Gentleman in Kentucky. I don't think I can pull of the Stetson in my neck of the woods but the mix of nice jeans, a good patterened button-down and blazer suits me I think. Its a look that works very well in Academia, especially if you are a young guy. Its also relatively cheap when done through thrift shopping. The most expensive part tends to be the jeans, hard for me to find good jeans at thrift shops that are in good shape.

Timothy Olyphant again as Sheriff Seth Bullock in HBO's too short lived (3 seasons) Deadwood. Raylan is a very similar character, and Olyphant does the stoic lawman archetype very well IMO. There are some things about this "Old West" style that I love, especially the prevalence of waistcoats, boots, and suspenders. Not much I can directly incorporate but I find it inspiring nonetheless. Also good inspiration in life. Bullock had a temper that sometimes made him act rashly, but he always stood up for what he thought was right, regardless of the consequences. I dig that. A lesson for any modern gentleman.

Neil Caffrey from Whitecollar. He rocks a very sophisticated wardrobe with a leaning towards 60's vintage styles and I really love it. I can't get away with wearing suits everyday to work, especially as a grad student, but I do like the thought of dressing this way every day. At least I can pull in some elements and definitely rock it for those occasions where a suit is appropriate.

I was also looking for some photos of Tom Hardy as Eames in Inception but not having much luck finding any good ones. The styling and wardrobe in Inception were particularly good, lots of stuff I liked there.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Copenhagen Declaration on Religion in Public Life

Not my usual post for this blog, but posting it here nonetheless :

The recent Gods and Politics conference in Copenhagen adopted the following Declaration on Religion in Public Life. The conference was the first European event of Atheist Alliance International, and was co-hosted by AAI and the Danish Atheist Society.
We, at the World Atheist Conference: "Gods and Politics", held in Copenhagen from 18 to 20 June 2010, hereby declare as follows:We recognize the unlimited right to freedom of conscience, religion and belief, and that freedom to practice one's religion should be limited only by the need to respect the rights of others.
  • We submit that public policy should be informed by evidence and reason, not by dogma.
  • We assert the need for a society based on democracy, human rights and the rule of law. History has shown that the most successful societies are the most secular.
  • We assert that the only equitable system of government in a democratic society is based on secularism: state neutrality in matters of religion or belief, favoring none and discriminating against none.
  • We assert that private conduct, which respects the rights of others should not be the subject of legal sanction or government concern.
  • We affirm the right of believers and non-believers alike to participate in public life and their right to equality of treatment in the democratic process.
  • We affirm the right to freedom of expression for all, subject to limitations only as prescribed in international law - laws which all governments should respect and enforce. We reject all blasphemy laws and restrictions on the right to criticize religion or nonreligious life stances.
  • We assert the principle of one law for all, with no special treatment for minority communities, and no jurisdiction for religious courts for the settlement of civil matters or family disputes.
  • We reject all discrimination in employment (other than for religious leaders) and the provision of social services on the grounds of race, religion or belief, gender, class, caste or sexual orientation.
  • We reject any special consideration for religion in politics and public life, and oppose charitable, tax-free status and state grants for the promotion of any religion as inimical to the interests of non-believers and those of other faiths. We oppose state funding for faith schools.
  • We support the right to secular education, and assert the need for education in critical thinking and the distinction between faith and reason as a guide to knowledge, and in the diversity of religious beliefs. We support the spirit of free inquiry and the teaching of science free from religious interference, and are opposed to indoctrination, religious or otherwise.
Adopted by the conference, Copenhagen, 20 June 2010.
Please circulate this as widely as you can among people and groups who advocate a secular society.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Inspirations Pt I

Just a short post where I throw up some random pics of the things (both fashion and non-fashion related) that inspire me:

Some summer footwear. This is the actually the same style and colour of docksides that I have on my feet right now.
A great drink:

The ever ubiquitous Mad Men:

Especially with a great pair of shades:

Many summer days I really wish I was on a boat, dressed like the fashionable Northeasterner that I am (although I hail from a little further North and East than New England):

And of course Kennedy rocked a casual gentleman's wardrobe quite well even when not on a boat:

And a perfect summer ride when on land:

Monday, May 17, 2010

Summer Wear

This weekend I managed to pick up some new clothes for the still struggling spring/summer season here on the Canadian East Coast. Classic Fit Dockers were on sale at Sears for about half-price, Moore's has 100% Indian Cotton polo shirts on for $20 a piece, and I found a pair of Sebago Docksides at the local Winners in my size for $50.

I also has to pas up an Oscar de la Renta, grey, double breasted suit at one of the thrift shops. It was $70 and I just couldn't justify it (the other clothes I got this weekend were a gift courtesy of my wonderful mother and my lovely and wonderful girlfriend).

If the suit is still there in a few weeks I will be sorely tempted...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Thrift Shopping

So, because I haven't bought any new clothes recently (you'll have to wait a few more weeks when I have money for that), and because most of what I have purchased (and will purchase) is of the thrift shop variety I thought I would post a brief guide to how I approach dumpster diving (as my boss calls it) in your local charity/thrift shops. I'm sure there have been many of these written over the years on the internet but... here is my two cents.

1) Thrift Shop Often! Rule one is, I think, the most important. Thrift shopping takes a lot of time input, which is fine if you can't afford to buy quality items brand new. Obviously if you have the time, leave the thrift shops to those poorer sartorialists and students in need. Your local thrift and charity shops change their inventory on a pretty much constant basis as new items are brought in. Many employees of various thrift stores are also interested in quality clothes, meaning they can beat you to the punch BUT, I have noticed that for men many of these fall into the more fashion forward, trendy, edgy, alternative looks. Which means a lot of classic pieces will escape their notice. Depending on the store once a week or so is probably a good rule of thumb here.

2) Go to many shops. As a follow up to going often, go to a lot of different places. We have a few different major thrift or charity shops near me and they their prices and selection are totally different. Some are smaller but are more likely to have great finds for cheap, others have a much larger selection but that means that I have to do a lot more digging.

3) Have a search strategy. This is especially true in the larger shops with more selection. Are you looking primarily for pants or suits today? Odd jackets? Outerwear? Shirts? Whatever your primary focus is, start there. My personal exception is that no matter what I am primarily looking for I almost always start at suits and odd jackets (sport coats and blazers). That is because it is where I am most likely to find a great bargain. Classic designer odd jackets at bargain basement pricing ($5-$15 typically). That is the most bang for your buck since those items new cost hundreds of dollars (or maybe thousands in the case of full designer label suits). Then I will go from there to what I am looking for in particular that day. I may have to put something back later but it is worth having found it first, I can agonize over the decision later when it is in my hand and not someone else's.

4) Vintage stores are great but go to them later. Good vintage stores will generally have less selection than your average thrift shop obviously, but it will be targeted more towards those classic vintage finds you are looking for. But you will pay a premium for someone having done a lot of the thrifting effort for you. Most vintage shops acquire their clothes through a variety of sources but one of them is thrifting. They frequently go to the local thrift and charity shops as well and pick through for the great finds. Beating them to the punch is better for your wallet as long as you have the time to invest. Otherwise you'll pay the mark up. It isn't unusual to see that great $10 Odd Jacket be $40 or more at the vintage shop. That said I do usually drop by when I have a chance because sometimes I find something really worth the mark-up since I missed it at a thrift store.

5) Don't worry about perfect fit, get to know a tailor. A lot of the best finds you'll come across at thrift shops have already been tailored for their previous owner, which means chances are it won't fit you perfectly. Learn how to estimate how much a particular garment can be altered, how difficult that particular alteration is, and how much a tailor will charge for it where you live. Keep in mind that you can almost always resell that garment for at least what you payed for it, if not at a slight mark-up for your efforts on ebay, craigslist, kijiji, or similar so it isn't a big risk often to just go ahead and buy it anyway and worry about the alterations later. Sleeve length is often the easiest alteration to make, as is taking in or letting out the waist of an odd jacket. Then you just need to find a good tailor who can do the work, but you'll have to factor in that cost to your total cost of ownership.

I hope these tips help someone out there. Happy Thrifting!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New Haircut

So I went to the Barber who lives a few blocks from me yesterday, first time I have been there. He's been cutting hair there for over 40 years and definitely knows his trade. Lots of good conversation, quite old fashioned, and a wonderful result. I'm really happy with the result. (Compare with my other pictures on here for the difference)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A walk on the waterfront

Eddie Bauer sweater, jeans, boots, grey flat cap. Perfect for a sunny but slightly breezy day walking along the waterfront.

Friday, April 23, 2010


For anyone who hasn't used this website before. GrooveShark

Pretty awesome streaming music site, and no I have no idea what the legality of this is. I think it is user uploaded music. I'm using it to listen to a lot of Jazz and Blues right now.


I didn't post this yesterday due to lack of time so I figured I would today. This is just another "look at what I wore today!" post. Feedback from anyone reading would be appreciated.

This is a combination of my Land's End shirt, Oscar de la Renta blazer, and the grey pants that I found thrifting more recently.

I have a question for the more sartorially minded? I wore my brown shoes with these, since they don't clash with the pants. How strict is jacket, belt,shoe matching? (Brown belt to math the shoes of course) Is it just that your jacket and shoes shouldn't be clashing colours (brown and black for instance) or should they match more closely in colour?

And, while it isn't totally clear in the picture the jacket is a greyish-greeny-teal sort of colour. To my eye it didn't appear too similar to the pants. I wanted to avoid looking like it was a mismatching suit. I did have compliments on it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Cool Spring Day

So the weather here is notorious for being... chaotic I supose is a good word to describe it. But that's what you get for living in a port town on the North Atlantic. A few weeks ago we had some stunningly beautiful weather. People were out in shorts and t-shirts. Those of us who weren't undergraduate college students were usually out in pants and a light sweater or button down shirt. My girlfriend, sister, and mom (who was in town visiting) went down to the waterfront and I enjoyed one of these:

An excellent West Coast style IPA. Extra hoppy, just the way I like it.

Of course the last few weeks haven't been so kind. A few days ago we had snow. It didn't last long but still it was snow.

Today looks like it will be a nice day, but not sit out at the water front and drink a cold beer nice. It was cool but sunny out on my walk in to the lab. I opted to go with some heavier trousers, a button down sport shirt, and a classic quarter zip Eddie Bauer pull over.

And my brown leather shoes. A little more fashion-forward than some prefer with the square cut toe but I like them. This look probably would have been pulled off better with a pair of loafers or boat shoes for a more classic New England look.

And don't worry, the socks are brown not black.



Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ralph Lauren Again

So Today I really wanted to wear the tweed Brooks Brothers Sports Jacket that I got during the Great Thrifting Adventure but, alas the sleeves are just too short and I haven't had time to go get them altered yet. There was some concern that the jacket might not fit period but every time I try it on I think that that isn't true.

Anyway so today is the Ralph Lauren jacket with a blue shirt. Also, jeans and my boots:

My Neck still looks too fat, good thing I am going to the gym today. :)

I also need a haircut. When some cash comes in I.ll be going to the Barber.

And here are the boots:

Synthetic and not real leather but they are very comfortable and look pretty good I think. It gives a little bit of "edge" to a more dapper presented look.

New Blogs Added

I just added some new blogs to follow over on the sidebar.

Being Manly
A Suitable Wardrobe
The Modern Traditionalist

All look like great sources of inspiration!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Building the Wardrobe

Antonio of A Tailored Suit wrote on Friday over at Art of Manliness part I of a series on how to Build Your Wardrobe. The post is, I think, a great start and I really like the 4 different categories Antonio broke most men down in to. Broad categories but I think they make an excellent starting point for any man. A little adjustment goes a long way to tailoring those 4 basic categories into the look that will suit you the best.

The one that matches best I think for most students and academics, as well as scientists in industry for the most part as well is the "Creative Casual". Which Antonio describes and recommends:

The Casual Creative’s Wardrobe
You work in an environment in which creativity is valued and conformity is dreaded.  Although you have some colleagues that dress in the clothing they slept in, you realize that dressing up a notch does not mean you are losing yourself as an individual.  Rather it gives you a chance to better express it without compromising your chance for opportunity.

Items that should be in the Casual Creative’s Wardrobe:
  • 1 Suit & 2 Ties (Just in case!)
  • 1 Pair Dress Shoes
  • 2 Pair Casual Leather Shoes (Suede or Saddle Shoes)
  • Belts that match above shoes
  • 10+ Dress Shirts (tailored, contrast stitching, unique fabrics)
  • 4 Pairs of well-fitting Jeans
  • 2 Pair Slacks, Dark & Light
  • 6+ Button-up collared sport shirts
  • 2 Solid Polo Shirts
  • 6 Sweaters
  • 10+ Undershirts
  • 1+ Sports Jacket – unique style or fabric
  • 1 Simple Watch
  • 5+ Pocket Squares
  • 1 Overcoat (Aim for a Unique Fabric)

Items that would be helpful to have
  • 2 Vests – possibly wear in lieu of a jacket
  • 1 pair Leather Gloves
  • 1 Hat
  • Collar Stays, Cuff Links

Now, some of the numbers may seem a little excessive, at least some of the commenter in the thread seemed to think so, but in general I think they are sound. Myself I would probably go with fewer dress shirts, a few more slacks, and a few more blazers/sports coats for variety in that area. I'd also recommend 2 suits and a wider variety of ties but that's just me.

This sort of wardrobe offers a pretty good variety to play with as well, and can run to a broad range of styles I think. For instance, while I'd like to eventually pick up a Fedora, I'm not sure it will really suit me so my hat is a grey checked flat cap for casual wear. For more formal occasions I don't wear hats at all.

Getting Back to the Gym

The last few weeks have been slack in terms of my workout routine. Been slipping and a little lazy. No excuses really. Anyway this week its time to get back in to the routine.

I started going back to the gym in January and have managed to drop somewhere close to 30 pounds in that time, most of that being in January and February. Thats been a big reason, and push, in changing my wardrobe as well. Since I needed new clothes anyway, why not go for a better and more professional look while I'm at it. And since I'm a poor student, the thrift stores are an absolute must. So, now back to the gym to continue towards my weight loss goals.

Night on the Town

Ok, so this isn't the best picture, and I had to fix my hair and collar after this before I went out but this is to give you an idea. This is the Christian Dior blazer that I mentioned from my thifting finds post. Its pretty awesome, can't see a lot of detail in this pic I'll add another one later. Double breasted, awesome pointed lapels, and a light weight blue pinstripe.

The trousers I found yesterday in the afternoon at a thrift shop for $5! No label or tag of any kind on them so I assume they might have been custom tailored for someone. Not sure of the material, I may be breaking a cardinal rule of fibers. They are very lightweight and I think there may be a significant percentage of polyester in them. But they wear nice and look pretty good. Lightweight enough for a night of dancing, which is where the GF and I were going last night. They have a very subtle check pattern on them in a slightly darker shade of grey.

We learned a little latin dance, drank some beer, and danced through the early evening. It was a good night and I think I definitely had the sharpest outfit on of any guy in the club.

I'm enjoying the fashion transition a lot, it just feels good to be better dressed.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Today's Look Pt 2

So this is what I am sporting today. This is a Polo University Club by Ralph Lauren Blazer, another one of the finds made while thrift shopping last weekend and purchased for a whoping $5.50 at a Salvation Army. The shirt is a Land's End, bought on sale at Sears. I like the orange and blue pattern, I think it is pretty bold and makes the whole thing look a lot more casual and relaxed then it would otherwise.

I have it paired with my RW & Co Jeans, unfortunately the only pair that I have right now that fits well and that the hem hasn't started coming apart. Also a pair of nice looking sort of motorcycle-style boots that I got on sale two weekends ago at about 75% off. Which makes it even more casual. Works quite well for in at the lab. I don't do bench work anyway, which is why you don't see a lab coat.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Today's Look

So today I went, again, with the Oscar de la Renta jacket that I found thrifting on the weekend. It made the most sense since I wanted to wear pants today, not jeans and they are brown so of course a black jacket just wouldn't do.

I paired it today with a grey de la Renta shirt that I also found thrifting and a grey and green argyle sweater vest that I've had for awhile. Here's the result.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Changing Looks

So I just wanted to make a brief post about changing your wardrobe and look in general. Right now I think it has mostly been pretty positive. Most comments are "You look very nice today", although many are inevitably followed up with questions as to whether I had some sort of meeting/presentation today or any particular reason. I expect those to taper off as people get used to seeing it more and more. But it is inevitable. We live in a pretty casual world and academia is, in general, a pretty casual place. Yes lots of your profs wore jackets and ties I am sure, but you'll notice that is mostly your older profs. Academia doesn't really have rules about this sort of thing, so people wear whatever they want and feel comfortable in.

As a grad student most of my peers are quite relaxed about it well. Jeans and t-shirts dominate here just as they do in your average class room. It's not a bad thing, I'm not one of those people who thinks everyone should dress less casually although I think a lot of people could do with taking some more pride in their appearance.

Everyone is going to have their own style, I actually like the diversity in style I see walking down a street today compared to 50 or 60 years ago. So when you break from the casual trend and start pushing it to a little more "snappy" you will get some odd remarks once in awhile, but it comes with the territory.

That said I am still mostly wearing jeans, and thats ok. I hope to augment my wardrobe with more trousers and pants over the next few months but finding ones I like has been a slower process then it has been with shirts and jackets.

Never have a car payment

I just came across this post over at Get Rich Slowly, after I got linked there by a post on buying used cars at The Art of Manliness. Its a good idea, and one I think my girlfriend and I will have to start with when it comes time for us to buy our first car. Right now we are carless, we live in the downtown area of our city and simply walk or take the bus everywhere. When we need to we do borrow a car from her parents, and we have considered a Car Share membership in the past.

I like the idea of car sharing, I think it is great for the environment and perfect for people who don't want to maintain a car and don't want to drive everywhere. That said at the end of the day your money is essentially gone. Buying a good, cheap used car (and still not driving everywhere) is probably the better option.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Vintage Hunting

This weekend I went hunting through thrift stores with my absolutely amazing girlfriend. It was her idea, but at the end of the day we came home with far more finds for me than for her, many of them too good to pass up.

We were looking through pretty much everything clothing related. She was looking mostly for shoes and bags, me for pants, jackets, and shirts. I didn't find any pants, and only one shirt, but I came home with a treasure haul of vintage designer balzers and sport jackets. Hopefully I can post some photos later but for now the rundown. Some of these didn't fit, but we picked them up anyway and will pass on to others or resell.

Shirt: Oscar de la Renta

Blazers: Oscar de la Renta, Georgio Armani, Polo University Club by Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, and Christian Dior.

I am wearing the Oscar de la Renta jacket today at the lab (I do all computer work so no worries about chemical spills) with a pair of jeans, a nice belt, a striped white shirt, and a nice pair of shoes.

I felt totally different on my stroll through downtown to work today. I just felt, I don't really know... just better I guess. Lots of compliments on it so far, I think this is one of the best looking outfits I have out on. Photos to come later.

The Art of Manliness

As I mentioned in my welcome post I owe a big thank you to the contribuots and members on the website The Art of Manliness, which I have added to my blog roll along with An Affordable Wardrobe.

The Art of Manliness is a site dedicated to the "retrosexual" (name somewhat tongue in cheek) and a resurgence in the fashion sensibilities and manners of an earlier generation (for most of us that being our grandfathers and the middle of the previous century). The most obvious example of this style seen on TV today being, of course, the excellent TV show Mad Men.

I want to stress, as do most in this community, that this movement (if you will) isn't about bringing about everything from that period. We are better for leaving behind the horrible discrimination of the past. Sexism, racism, and discrimination of any kind have no place in the modern world.

What this is about is bringing back good manners, the art of dressing well, and an appreciation of rugged simplicity and quality workmanship.

Just want to give props where it is due and direct readers to that great site. I don't agree with the opinions of everyone, or of every post, but overall the site has been a wealth of information. A lot of what I say here may very well have been said better and in much more detail there (or elsewhere on the web), but this blog is more about my own personal journey in changing my life. I also intend on touching on health and fitness topics where appropriate as that has been a major component of what I am doing as well. Losing a lot of weight has also provided a great excuse for totally changing my closet as well.


Well, this is simply my first post here on my new blog. So, a little about me is in order I suppose. I am a graduate student working on my PhD in a Biochemistry department and am in my late 20's. Over the years, as any person does, I have gone through a variety of styles. Pretty preppy in most of my teenage years, a bit more punk/skater in my later teenage years and when I started University (it was the early 2000's after all), morphing into just a "regular joe" casual. I also packed on almost 50lbs between graduating high school and the end of last year and then I decided to do something about it.

Since January I have been slowly (but surely) changing my lifestyle. I eat better, I go to the gym (almost 30lbs lost since the first of January!), and now while still working on my health and fitness I am also changing how I look on the outside. I'm moving from scruffy student to something hopefully a little more dapper. I'll try, as I write these posts, to also put on some pictures to show what I did look like, what I am wearing these days, and where I am headed in the future.

I also need to give a special thanks to all of the contributors and members of The Art of Manliness. I have only been a member a short while but much of the site (especially the Dress & Grooming section) really captures a lot of the ideas that inspired me and the direction I want to take my fashion sense.

Graduate school, and science/academia in general, is a pretty casual place. Jeans and T-Shirts dominate, and it isn't necessarily much better among the faculty. With that in mind I have been pushing my style over the last little while into a little more sartorial territory, although I am also inspired a lot by sort of vintage outdoorwear. Barbour, Filson, classic LL Bean and Eddie Bauer, that sort of thing. Ultimately my look will be a hybrid of that sort of "gentlemen's outdoorwear", a more sartorial style, and the odd modern element thrown in. We'll just have to see if it works or not. So... welcome readers.