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How to be the “All-American” man this spring.

April 19th, 2011 No Comments

-Andrew Woj, the Straight Guy’s Stylist

Clockwise from top

H&M striped crew neck tee

BDG royal blue shorts (from Urban Outfitters)

Varvatos oxford shoes (bought at Buffalo Exchange)

H&M large-print gingham in red (on sale for $10)

H&M small-print gingham in grey (on sale for $15)

J.Crew long-sleeved striped crew neck

Sperry Top Siders, J.Crew 7″ classic chino shorts (bought at Buffalo Exchange).

OK, so from these labels, you know I don’t mean “Made in America,” but classic American style.  The trends hitting the stores right now for spring are obvious: casual, comfortable, classic.

Guys, it doesn’t get much easier and cheaper than this!!!

But it’s always helpful to have a few guidelines.  A few things to keep in mind when you’re picking up your American inspired pieces:

  1. What would JFK do? Whenever I need an idea, I flip through the internet and look at Jack on vacation with the family.  He was always flawless.
  2. Go commando! When you’re shoe shopping, think of shoes that you can wear without socks.  Nothing says spring fashion like ditching the clunky boots and chunky socks, so embrace it!
  3. Brighten up.  I normally don’t go for a lot of colors, especially red because of my naturally rosy cheeks, but it’s time to go bold or go home. Instead of your usual khaki shorts, try a solid color chino.

A couple “timeless” pieces from your closet that we don’t consider “classic” –  plaid shorts, cargos, relaxed fit jeans, crocs.  As for shirts, when in doubt, if it’s wrinkled, it’s not a classic.

Now that I have all my new spring clothes, I’m just waiting for the warm weather to permanently set in so that I can sit outside and down a nice cold beer.

Is your hubby a bit schlubby?

March 15th, 2011 No Comments

-Andrew Woj, the Straight Guy Stylist

Last week, I wrote to you from my cave of sickness and mentioned that Bree had a great question about dressing men’s body types.  She writes:

I’ve noticed there is so much advice out there on how to dress different female body types, but the advice on how to dress a man is hard to find.  I’m trying to help my fiance be more stylish and feel more confident, but strugge to determine what styles flatter him the most.  He is very very tall (6’7″) with a belly and wise-ish hips/rear.  Any tips?

The best bet for dressing any body (and personality) type- male or female – is trial and error.

However, I can offer you

My quick tips for dressing a man whether he is built like a linebacker or a parking meter.

Here we go!

“Full Figured” Bass Ass
I’ve always heard women referred to as full-figured and fabulous, so why can’t we put guys into the same category?  This is for the guys who shopped the husky department with their mom throughout grade school:

  • Start anew.  Stay away from boutiques and vintage shops – places that are notorious for their small sizes – focus on stores with a wider assortment of sizes.  Larger chain stores like J.Crew, Gap, and Banana Republic all offer a tall selection.  Other higher end designers like John Varvatos and Ralph Lauren also cater to taller men.  Check out these places for a great start to rebuilding your wardrobe with pieces that fit well.  Avoid stores with “Big & Tall” in the name – the clothes in those stores have been sitting on the racks since the mid-90s.
  • Know your size.  Or at the very least, make it fit you well.  Avoid things that are too baggy: they just add excess material and create a sloppy look.  One of the best things you can do is become friends with the tailor in your neighborhood.  I’m still looking for a good one here in Philly, so if anyone has any tips, drop me a line!  In short, your clothes should be trim to your body without hugging it too tightly.
  • Express yourelf.  I’m a huge fan of personal style: express yourself through the clothes that you wear and how you put it all together. If you wouldn’t wear a bright orange shirt, then don’t buy a bright orange shirt just because it’s on the sale rack and fits you well!  Spend a little bit of money on what you know you will wear and get a great look in return.
  • Slim your style. Wear a undershirt, not a wife beater: it creates a more even silhouette.  Wear thin lapels on your jackets, not thick: it thins out your neck and upper body.  Wear a v-neck, not a t-shirt: it thins your neck and face.  Wear thin stripes, not thick: it draws the eye up without emphasizing your weight.  Wear your belt one notch looser, not two notches tighter: you want it tight enough to function, but not so tight that it draws attention to your waistline.

Short and Chic
Finding a 29-inch inseam is just as difficult as finding a 34-inch inseam.  Don’t worry I’m not going to send you to Gap Kids.   This is for the guys who bust out the step stool to reach the top of the pantry, just like me:

  • Break it up.  Wear something that clearly breaks your body up into clear, defined sections.  For me, I’ve noticed that I look best in lighter pants and a darker shirt.  This emphasizes my muscular legs and hides the extra weight that I carry around my midsection.  Don’t be too afraid to tuck in your shirt… it’s not just for nerds!  It helps break up your outfit and create a cleaner, leaner look.
  • Let it all hang out.  If you’re short and slim you could go to the other extreme and buy fitted t’s and button downs and let them hang out to make your torso look longer.  I know you probably don’t want to hear this, but skinny jeans will add so much length to your look too.
  • Be bold, but only once.  Pick up the patterns and embrace the plaid trend.  Go for ginghams, plaids, stripes, and more!  I feel like shorter guys get to have a little bit more of a quirky style, so embrace the fun that you can have with your clothes.  Just be careful because mixing patterns is quickly becoming a trend of the past.
  • Roll with the punches.  One of my favorite looks is a rolled cuff, I wear it on nearly all of my pants except for suits and dress pants because it’s such an easy way to take a pair of jeans or chinos and not only make them fit, but to make them your own.  You can do the same with jacket sleeves, shirt sleeves, and even some casual blazers…as long as your OK with the wrinkles that will follow.

My tips for shorter guys aren’t all about tricking people into thinking that you’re taller; they’ll see right through your smoke and mirrors as soon as they walk up to you. Instead, I’m a firm believer in embracing your body type whether it’s tall, short, thick, or thin.  Confidence is the only thing that will really make you stand out and look great.  The clothes can only go so far, the rest of it is in you.

Tucked in today.

March 8th, 2011 No Comments

-Andrew Woj, the Straight Guy’s Stylist

When fashionistos don’t feel well, there’s nothing to do but resort to what you know is comfortable: hoodie, blankets, and bed.

I’ve spent the day unable to look at a computer screen long enough to put together a decent post, but I wanted to let all of you know that I’m still out here.  Reader Bree suggested a post on dressing various male body types because there are countless guides for women, but none for women who want their man to look good.  I’m planning something for all the guys who shopped in the “husky” department growing up!  If you have more suggestions or questions, email me (andrew@morethanmary.com) and I’ll get back to you when I come out of my cave.

Bangin’ Black Tie at the Oscars

March 1st, 2011 3 Comments

-Andrew Woj, the Straight Guy’s Stylist

I’m one of those people who would rather buy new clothes than own a TV – shocking, I know. But I don’t live under a rock so I realize the Oscars were on Sunday.

I won’t make you guys admit it, but I know you were checking out the clothes just as much as your girlfriends were.  You’re looking for things you like, hate, and maybe might incorporate into your formalwear one day.

The three things you’re looking for:

1.  Fit of the suit.

2.  Details in color and accessories.

3.  Hair choices.

So, I’m going to give you direction for red carpet looks that were banging and those that were banged up.

Best Dressed: Jeremy Renner

Everyone is talking about how timeless Justin Timberlake looked, but I think Jeremy in this tux by YSL is exemplary of classic as well.  The fit is flawless; the shiny shawl color is a little bit different which I appreciate; the pocket square completes the outfit.

Worst Dressed: Francis Ford Coppola

This tux looks like a sac! It reminds me of something you’d pick up from the rental place in the mall.  Tie it up with that over-sized monstrosity of a tie and we have a fashion disaster on our hands. As a “bigger guy,” I find it disappointing when men choose to drown themselves in their clothes rather than look dapper in something that actually works for them and their body type.  I hope he fires his stylist.

Best Hair: Andrew Garfield

When in black tie, keep it clean. We don’t need to see your Sunday scruff to remind us you’re a man and not a Ken doll.  Because, btw, there’s nothing wrong with looking handsome.  Follow Andrew’s lead.  Shower, shave, and style your hair.

Worst Hair: Jesse Eisenberg

Jesse could have taken a few pointers from his co-star.  I’m sure we can all agree he just looks sloppy?  Perhaps he was still in his Mark Zuckerberg character?

Who do you think did the red carpet justice?  Put in your two cents below.

The Andrew Woj Spring 2011 Style Guide – ONLY on MTM

February 22nd, 2011 No Comments

Mary Note: Guys, pay attention to Andrew’s notes for your spring style below.  If you chose to accept his advice, you’ll spend less time shopping (which I know you love) and save a huge chunk of change (which I know you love more!) in the long run.

— Andrew Woj, the Straight Guy’s Stylist

Men’s fashion trends are subtle, which is why you guys have to make them your own.  Anyone can wear a pair of skinny jeans and a hoodie, but the trick is doing it without looking like Justin Bieber.  Here are six spring pieces that are trendy and mature enough to make you stand out from the crowd without looking like a teen sensation.

Get a weave.

Woven belts are straight out of the 90s but they’re making a huge comeback.  Maybe you’re not the same size you were in the 90s – I totally get that.  Luckily, this is one fashion trend that defies time and waistlines.  People are making big mistakes by donating their worn in weaves to thrift stores because they think the look is outdated.  I recommend looking for a bargain at Goodwill or the Salvation Army before springing for the full-price designer version.

Walk in the rain.

Judging by the bounty of high tops and spring friendly boots, ankles are certainly out this season.  My favorite footwear for the spring is the suede dessert boot.  I know what you’re thinking – Andrew, it’s springtime, it rains nearly every day.  You can’t be serious about suede! Oh, but I am.  The rain is part of the process to make them look worn in.  Check out fellow men’s fashion blogger, Will, in his distressed desert boots.  Please also note pink watch – he’s taking the pop-of-color trend and making it his own!

Go for an authentic boot, like the Clarks Desert Boot on sale at Zappos for only $100.

Color it camel.

Don’t miss out on the hottest trend for spring and summer: camel.  You’re used to wearing neutral pants, so why not try a shirt?  You can pick up a truly trendy and  affordable version like the one seen on Kid Cudi at Banana Republic for only $60!

Let your pants do the talking.

This spring it’s time for you to have a little fun with your pants too!  If you already summer in New England, than you probably have your Nantucket Reds out of storage and waiting in the wings for some play time.  If you’re unfamiliar with colored pants, get some and start exploring this spring.  They’re going to be everywhere!

A couple helpful tips:

  1. DO – make sure they fit well.  Go for something more streamlined like a straight leg or slim fit
  2. DON’T – grab denim (colored denim is tacky and unnatural).

Check out a few trendy pairs at Land’s End Canvas for $39.50.

Get in the trenches.

This is a classic piece you’ll be wearing for years, so don’t feel bad about splurging.  However, you can also find affordable styles.  DistrictCut recently posted on the hottest spring to summer trench coats and the best part is that you can find them all for under $200.  There’s no need to reinvent the wheel with this one: go with a classic trench and don’t be afraid to spend a little closer to the $200 mark – your trench will always be in style and if you invest, you won’t be buying a new one every year!

Look like a player.

A rugby player, that is!  Rugby shirts are huge for spring.  You can get a pre-made or completely customized (and 100% authentic) rugby shirt from RUGBY by Ralph Lauren.  If you’re in DC, be sure to check out the Rugby store in Georgetown because there is endless outfit inspiration.  If you’re not as fortunate to have a store in your town, you can shop online.  Don’t forget to look in your college book store for vintage inspired sweats and rugbys as well.

You’re all set to hit the stores.  I know this will never happen, but I’m going to throw it out there anyway.  Send me a pic of your new spring look and we’ll post it (from the collar down).  And if you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comments below.

The sales are on! Stock up on winter styles NOW.

February 15th, 2011 No Comments

– Andrew Woj, the Straight Guy Stylist

In just a few weeks, winter will come to a close.  The snow will melt, the sun will come out, and the trends will change.  The best part of all this isn’t sitting outside at your favorite restaurant, enjoying a meal in the warmer weather – NO!  The best part is picking up things for next winter while they’re on the sale of a lifetime!  Here are three things you should pick up off the sale racks before they’re gone:

  1. Knit hats. Go for simple and versatile: knits without flaps in basic colors.
  2. Boots. Always necessary and practical.  Red Wings or work boots with laces are your best bet.
  3. Whatever “unmentionables” keep you warm. Long underwear, wool socks, and flannel shirts are filling the bargain bins right now. Billy Reid makes an incredible camp sock for $16, but you’ll find good sales everywhere.

Check me out in my new knit hat and farmer flannel.  It’s still cold so I’m getting a head start.

Updated: Man up with your haircut

February 8th, 2011 No Comments

More trendy barbershops have been added to the list at the bottom.  If you try one out, let us know how it goes in the comments.

— Andrew Woj, the Straight Guy Stylist

Guys with curly or unruly hair, I’m right there with you, so this one’s for you!

I’ve realized that while salons deal with curly hair all the time, they usually deal with it on women, which is what makes the search for a good stylist for us so hard. We need to find a place that knows how to treat a man!

Groom Philly, a vintage-inspired barber shop run by critically acclaimed Joe McMenamin, is old school and just hip enough to give me a trendy ‘do.  My barber, who was oddly enough a woman, was named BJ.  This was my first hint that this haircut was going to absolutely satisfy me!

The cut took 45 minutes, but I can honestly call her work life changing.  BJ took the mediocre mohawk I received from a salon and sculpted into exactly what I had dreamed of…longed for! She worked my hair until it was perfectly even and coiffed.  Then came the surprise, the happy ending if you will: a hot shave with a straight razor on the back of the neck followed up with a brief massage.

“Hairstylists” may do amazing work, but I would highly recommend finding a modern barber with an old school agenda.  They’re reinventing the concept from the place where old men sit around reading newspapers and are returning to the scene as popular – even trendy – places to get your hair cut.  Best of all, I’ve found that it’s also cheaper than a cut from a salon.  I spent $20 on my last cut and got a completely different look – still short on the sides, but I took off the back and let the top grow out a bit so I could have some curl again.

A big suggestion – don’t try to walk into these hot spots without an appointment.  Unfortunately barbershops are just as meticulous and busy as your standard salon.

Below is a list of some of the country’s most popular.  Obviously I don’t know the underground hot spots, so if you do, please put them in the comments below.

Freeman’s Sporting Club — New York

Blind Barber — New York

Rudy’s,– Los Angeles locations

Baxter Finley — Los Angeles

Proper Barbershop — Los Angeles

Sloane Square Barbers & Shoppe — Miami Beach

The Barber Lounge — San Francisco

Original Palace Barber Shop — San Francisco

Groom Barbershop — Philadelphia

Magazine St. Barber Shop — New Orleans

Note: No discount was offered or received for review — just a very satisfied boy who is proud of his hair.

A Valentine’s Day Gift Guide For Men, By A Man

February 1st, 2011 3 Comments

–by Andrew Woj, the Straight Guy Stylist

Valentine’s Day can be daunting, especially when you’re shopping for your man who just so happens to be difficult to shop for.  Here are a few of my favorite Valentine ideas for all levels of income and all levels of relationship.

1.  Keep it sweet and simple.  If you’re just getting to know someone and Valentine’s Day is popping up, you might not be ready for all the hullabaloo the holiday encourages.  So keep it simple – really simple.  Think a king size of his favorite candy bar or a bag of his favorite gummies.  Pair it with a card that isn’t too corny, and you have the perfect gift that shows you’re interested, you pay attention, and you’re excited to see where this goes.  Plus, if food is the way to a man’s heart, then candy must be the expressway. Note: I actually gave and received this gift last V-day, so it’s definitely a charmer. (Get a five pound bag of assorted 12 gourmet flavored gummy bears from A Candy Store for $13.99)

2.  Think timeless. I think in today’s age, watches are overlooked as both a style item and a great gift.  So many people rely on their cell phones to tell time, but there’s something charming about a man who wears a watch.  And when that watch has a classic flair to it, I simply melt.  You might have to do some digging to find a good style at the right price, but it can be done. This 1940’s inspired watch from the Timex Original line is generic enough to look great with any man’s style, but sharp enough to get noticed. (Prices range from $95-110)

3.  Embrace his hobbies.  Go with what you know about him.  Put together a collection of gifts that center on a theme.  For example, this tin sign for him to hang in his garage would go great with tickets to a car show.  The same can be said with sports tickets and caps or other paraphernelia.  Be creative. Nothing is more romantic than when someone clearly puts thought into their gift.  (Sign can be found at RetroPlanet for $19.99)

4.  Go go gadget gift.  For the guy who has everything, buy him something they didn’t even know existed.  I love finding new gadgets and, better yet, I love the novelty of receiving a gadget, particularly one like makes my life easier.  Check out the KeyTool from TrueUtility.  It transforms a regular house key into everything from two different sized screwdrivers to a pair of tweezers.  Perfect for the guy who likes to explore, you can pair this with a weekend of camping or, if he’s more directionally challenged, a GPS.  Order fast if you’re interested – TrueUtility is a company based out of Great Britain, though they have reasonable shipping and their prices convert easily.  So much cooler than a pocket knife. (The KeyTool currently costs $8.01)

5.  Wrap it up. One thing that ruins a gift for me is cheesy wrapping.  I, like Maria Von Trapp, love brown paper packages tied up with strings.  Your guy doesn’t need the frill of red wrapping paper plastered in little hearts with a big fluffy pink bow.  I think that Valentine’s Day is already enough over the top that a simple wrap job will do.  And one last note: when shopping for your gift, avoid anything directly from the Valentine’s aisle in the store: no satin boxers, no stuffed animals, and no heart shaped chocolate boxes.

And now, it’s time for me to wrap up this post.  Have fun with your thoughtfulness!  Pairing together several small gifts and possibly throwing in a big ticket item allows you to customize the gift to fit your relationship and your budget.