What Boots Does Jonny Lee Miller Wear On Elementary?

150686526What brand and style shoe does Jonny Lee Miller wear in “Elementary”?

– Jeff

That depends on which shoe you mean. If you are talking about the cool two-tone black and mid-brown boots he showed for the second half of the season, I believe that they are the leather “Hipster Chukka” boot from John Varvatos. Sadly, it appears that the two-tone version is not in this year’s catalogue. Some places at the retail level may still have them in stock, though, so if you are really jonesing for them it could be worth your time to look around.

While you are out shopping check out the “Richards” in grey suede, also from Varvatos. They are available in both a brogued and a wingtip version – the wingtip is what you will see Mr. Miller wearing if you happen to stumble across him wandering around New York outside of the Elementary set. Suede is red hot for men’s casual this spring and summer, and for good reason. A subtle suede in a classic cut and a light-yet-neutral colour looks great with almost any pant you would think to wear and gives you an effortlessly finished look and vibe.

Since we are on the topic, I should mention that the black tank boots that he wore last season were the “Flinder” from Kurt Geiger. Like the Varvatos boots, they have a nicely distressed and slightly beaten finish to give that sort of “I don’t even bother to worry about it and yet I still look insanely cool” look right out of the box. They are also on clearance as of this writing on the Geiger web store, so now is the time to lay them in for next fall. At significantly less than 100 bucks, this is a killer deal.

What About Conditioner?

34214_2_468I read your “Shampoo Your Face” post and now I have to ask: Should you use conditioner too?

– Jammy Dodger

Huh. Good point. I probably should have been more clear as to what is actually going on. The reason you want to shampoo your facial hair is to properly clean the follicles. Healthy follicles mean healthy hair. And when that hair is front and centre on your mug, and probably something that is going to come into some very intimate contact with the assorted lights of your life, well, you don’t want to skip.

No one wants to suck face with Jimmy Dandruffchin.

So shampoo is key. Conditioner, which has nothing to do with cleaning, not so much. Unless you are a card carrying member of ZZ Top of one of those Duck Dynasty types, the hair on your face probably isn’t long or dense enough to benefit from conditioner at all. If anything you risk clogging up some of your pores or follicles with the waxes and lubricants that are in most conditioners. So if you actually have a beard long enough to comb out, conditioner might help you. But for the average mope that is a step you can safely – and probably should – just skip.

Hot Tip – Shampoo Your Face

Evil SpockAre you a cool and modern guy who is packing a bit of facial hair? I’m not just talking stubble here, I mean something with some substance – a ‘stache, a nice goatee, a full-on Abe Lincoln, whatever. If that’s your look, then chances are pretty good that you are mistreating that carefully cultivated growth ever time you get in the shower. You wash your hair on your head with a product designed to properly clean the follicles and protect the cuticles … and then you callously move on without giving the hair on your face the same consideration. Dude!

When you are lathering up your head with your shampoo of choice, take the extra minute and shampoo your facial hair too. Really – dont be drying out that hair with whatever soap you use in your face, protect it and nourish it with the same product that you trust to maintain the health of the hair on your head.

Shampoo your head, shampoo your ‘stache/beard/whatever, then get on with your regular schedule. Your face and the hair upon it will thank you.

What Was That Cool Shirt I Saw On “Elementary”?

Jonny Lee MillerI saw Johnny Lee Miller wearing this cool “Aviator” shirt on Elementary last week. I’ve looked for a brand called Aviator and come up with nothing. Can I buy this?

– Phil

First things first: It’s “Jonny”. No “h”. You and I might (correctly) think that the spelling variation is no big deal, but I spent the first seventeen years of my life living with one of these Jon-no-h types and trust me, they take it all very seriously. So Jonny it is.

With that out of the way, the brand you are actually looking for is called “Jacks and Jokers”. The company has licensed the classic trademarks of the United States Playing Card Company – Bicycle, Bee, Maverick and yes, Aviator – and turned them into a sweet line of graphic tees. The shirts are, quite frankly, great. The visuals are classic and more-or-less-iconic images that virtually everyone knows, the artwork harkens back to the ornate heyday of mid-century graphic design, and the quality is first rate. Be warned: These shirts are not cheap. Before you get freaked out by sticker shock, however, think of this as a long-term investment in your repetoire of style. Layer these up with a jacket or a cardigan or a casual vest and they work almost anywhere. At the pub with your buddies? Check. Casual day at work? Check. Breakfast date on a Saturday morning? Check. And the combination of righteous quality and timeless design will keep these looking as fresh and stylish in three years as they do right now.

This is definitely the right way to spend too much money on a shirt.

The shirt you saw was the “Aviator fade” in royal blue. Unfortunately, that particular shirt is no longer available. You can get the same graphic layout with the Aviator fade in peacock, or – if you want to stay with a more subtle colour choice – you can go with the full-sized graphic on a sage-hinted grey.

jacks-and-jokers-bee-92Since we are already pimping the product, I’ll point out that this isn’t the first time that we have seen Mr. Miller wearing Jacks and Jokers on the show. Two weeks earlier he was sporting a seriously swank red tee with the old “Bee” ace of spades design. This shirt is also from last year’s collection but you might be lucky enough to find some stock still in the stores. Annoyingly, the company web site has no way to search for retailers (an inexcusable oversight, really) so you are going to have to hunt around.

What Size Cufflinks Should I Wear?

cybermen cufflinksAre there any rules about the proper size of cufflinks?

– J. Boo

Rules? There is one rule, yes, but I am guessing that there is almost no chance that you will ever come into a situation where it actually applies. Guidelines? Now we’re talking. There are a few general guidelines, and I am happy to pass them along.

First, The Rule: If you are wearing a shirt that has studs instead of buttons, your cufflinks must match the studs and be exactly twice the diameter of the studs. Period. End of discussion.

Now then. For the 99.934 percent of the time that you are not wearing studs, the guidelines mostly come down to our old friend Common Sense. First (and foremost!) the size and style of your cufflinks should play nicely with the size and style of your other jewelry – especially your watch. If you are wearing one of those unfortunate new Giant Wirst Monstrosities you probably want a cufflink with enough visual heft to keep up. Conversely, if you are packing a watch that has a more subtle design and size (think Skägen) then you should go with a smaller and cleaner link to balance it.

The size of your cuff counts, too. Some guys still go for the elongated cuff, and you dont want your links getting lost on a sea of fabric. At the other end of the scale we have the convertible cuff, with a much shorter haft than a traditional french cuff, and you dont want to bust out something that will hang off both ends or look like a pair of bad-sci-fi-movie prison manacles.

Interestingly, the size of your own self is not that big of a deal. People compare the links to parts around them, not your body as a whole. Unless you happen to be Andre The Giant’s larger cousin or something, body size is not something that is going to limit your choices.

Have fun.

How Do I Tie This Damn Bow Tie?

tom-ford-bowtieHow are your really supposed to tie a bow tie? It might just be me, but it seems like the pictures and stuff online don’t help at all.

– PZ

Tying of a bow is one of the great lost arts of manhood. It’s sad, too – a couple of bow ties should be an indispensable part of any guy’s bag of stylin’ tricks, and just cant get the same look from one of those pre-tied abominations. But all is not lost. The diagrams and how-tos you see online are only useless if you try to do them with a tie around your actual neck. If you want to succeed get yourself a tie, find a set of the aforementioned instructions, and walk through them with by tying the bow around your thigh. Really. Your thigh is usually about the same size as your neck, and things will go a lot better the first few times if you can actually see what you are doing. With a standard tie you can look down and see what your hands are up to, but with a bow you work close enough to the neck that you are flying blind. And trust me – trying to learn the technique via the mirror is damn near impossible.

Once you get the basic moves down – and they aren’t hard, it really is just like tying a shoe – then you can move up to the neck and after a couple of tries you’ll have it. Remember that the mirror is both your friend and your enemy here. You can use your reflection to check where you are or to see how the balance is, but don’t try to watch in the mirror as you go – it is nothing but an exercise in spatial futility.

Trust me.

Two things to remember: One, keep your skills sharp. Even if you don’t plan on wearing it, pull out a bow and tie it a couple of times every other week or so … use it or lose it. And two, get a bow that fits. Unlike hanging ties, bows should be measured to the size of your neck. Buy your tie to the same size as your shirt. This is a definitely a case where one size never fits all.

How Do I Tell My Girlfriend I Hate Her Gift?

theoshirtIt’s kind of late to ask this, but how do I tell my girlfriend that I don’t like the shirt she bought me for Christmas?

– S.S.

They same way you should do anything – directly and honestly. Is it going to go well? No, of course not. This is the classic no-win situation. There is no doubt at all here – you are, to put it mildly, fucked. But at least you have a choice. You can pretend you like the shirt, begrudgingly wear it, and generally hose yourself over while being a miserable whining snot, or you can bite the bullet and hose yourself over while being a stand-up sort of guy. Take your pick.

However … if you are going to be a stand-up sort of guy you need to remember that means being fair, too. Don’t jump to any sort of hasty opinion. Try the damn thing on, and do it with an open mind. Ask her what she thinks it would go with, and try it on with that, too. Then put the whole mess away and try it on again the next day. Still don’t like it? Fine – tell her, explain why, and take your medicine. In the long run everyone will be happier. And no one can say that you didn’t give it a fair shake.

How Many Buttons Should Really Be Done Up?

4X_04500_0070Settle an argument, please. Are you supposed to do up all the buttons on your suit coat?

– C.C. & K.R.

No. Never ever. Both your coat and your vest are to be worn with the bottom button undone in any and all circumstances. As far as the rest of the buttons go, feel free to wear them either way when you are seated, but do them back up as soon as you leave your chair if you are wearing a suit or a sport coat. Casual or deconstructed blazers and jackets can, of course, remain unbuttoned 24-7. They’re easy that way.

What’s The Secret To Matching Your Tie To Your Shirt?

Screen Shot 2012-12-08 at 9.52.16 AMIs there a foolproof way to get your shirt and tie colours to really mesh? Do you just try and match one colour in the tie pattern with your shirt and hope for the best? Or just fall back on solid ties and “red with blue, black with grey, stripes with white, green no way”?

– T.C.

Dude. This is the twenty-first century. We live in an age fabulous and unthinkable wonders and we no longer dress ourselves according to rhymes, old wives’ tales, or Emily Post. These days there’s an app for that.

Search your app store of choice for one of the many colour-matching and palette-planning apps that are offered by virtually every paint company in business today. Sherwin-Williams, Benjamin Moore, CIL – they all have an app and they are all free. The one that I personally prefer for both colour accuracy and ease of use is Color Smart Mobile from Behr. Snap a picture of your shirt and you are handed a handy palette of accent and complimentary colours. Pick a tie that features one – or even better, two – of the colours and you are going to look like you were dressed by a high-powered team of wardrobe professionals. And for future reference you can take pictures of a decent cross-section of your wardrobe and save the colours as “favourites”. Now you’ve equipped yourself with a pocket catalogue of wardrobe reference samples. You can bust it out when shopping for new stuff and have some instant and very savvy colour suggestions.

This little trick works for pocket squares, too. Any mope can tuck in a pocket square that simply matches the colour of his shirt. But getting creative and adding a pocket square in a complimentary colour gives you both a finished look and and huge hit of runway style. And don’t be afraid to branch out from the traditional formal attire. If you are wearing an open-necked sport shirt with a suit or jacket for Casual Friday the addition of a perfectly contrasting pocket square will rocket you from ho-hum sameness to top-shelf flair.

How Long Should A Man’s Pants Be?

How long should a man’s pants be really? Where on the shoe should they hit? Just grazing the top of his shoe?

– Jenny

When you talk about the length of men’s pants, you are dealing with what we style gurus call the “break”. If you are an average-shaped guy wearing a traditionally tailored pant – and this includes slacks – the material should “break” on the top of the shoe, leaving a well-defined but shallow horizontal crease just above the ankle. The incredibly useful sketch just to the left is a perfect example. To get this look, mark the spot on the top of the shoe halfway up the laces. Then hem the pants so their length comes to a point between this spot and the top of the sole. Or just ask your tailor for a single break when you buy the pants.

There are a couple of ways you can work outside of this rule for some visual pop. If you are taller than average, you can go for a “double break” – your pants fall on the shoe with two horizontal creases, one just above the other. On shorter guys this just comes off looking like your pants are too long, so if you not over six feet in height you want to avoid this at the risk of appearing dumpy. But if you do have the height for this it is a dynamic and powerful look and it ensures that your pants are long enough to hang properly on your gangly legs when sitting down. To get a double break the hem of the pants should come all the way to the top of the sole … and if you are doing this with slacks, you also want a vented hem.

At the other end of the spectrum, if you have pants with a highly-tapered ultra-thin leg – and you are also appropriately thin – then you can go for no break at all. The hem of the pants should just barely brush the top of the laces. This gives you an edgy take-no-prisoners runway style kind of look, and if you can pull this one off then I tip my hat to you and your awesomeness. Be warned, though: If your waist is more than 32 inches this is not for you. Just back away.

Finally, you may remember that at the start of the summer a number of designers were taking their hems even higher, right up off the shoe. This had no redeeming value at all and it fortunately disappeared as quickly as it arrived. Hooray for small favours.

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