Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New blog on chron.com gets buzz

My latest blog on the Houston Chronicle's website, Style Profile on chron.com, debuted on Friday and has received several comments so far. Houston media blogger Mike McGuff, one of my makeover subjects from a previous entry on Style Points, gave a shout-out on Monday.

Thanks for taking time out to post a comment to my blogs. Please keep 'em coming. I look forward to making more interesting entries.

Friday, November 19, 2010

See more on Style on chron.com

I have started blogging on the Houston Chronicle's website, chron.com, about men's style. The new blog is called "Style Profile." The subject already has its share of observers, critics and respondents, but the discussion seems to be catching on.

You'll probably see more of my posts on chron.com, though I will on occastion be posting entries here on Style Points and for other sites.

Let's go!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Face the facts: Gotta shave, fellas

Few things get my attention when it comes to pro athletes doing postgame interviews. Having a five o'clock shadow is pretty commonplace stuff; if the facial growth goes to beard level, no blinking there.

In my best phonetic impersonation of my former Philadelphia Inquirer colleague Stephen A. Smith: "How-evuh ...!"

I don't care how accomplished an athlete you are; please take a little time out to shave before going on camera. Some reporter out there probably will do a sidebar story on unkempt countenances, and ask some ridiculous (but relevant for such a story) question like, "Thank you for speaking to the media. But before you talk about what happened during the game, why is your beard connected to your chest?"

Exhibit A: The normally clean-shaven Tom Brady gave a postgame interview with a noticeable beard after leading the New England Patriots to a 39-26 victory at Pittsburgh on Sunday night. (Catch Monday morning's highlights on SportsCenter if you want to see what I mean.) When the whiskers are visible on his neck, that's unseemly.

I wonder sometimes if Mr. Brady's latest look is an homage to former teammate Randy Moss, a stellar wide receiver who himself plays his position with ever-present facial hair. Now with the Tennessee Titans (who lost to the Miami Dolphins 29-17 on Sunday), Mr. Moss' beard is fuller and coarse.

On Sunday, Mr. Brady, a three-time Super Bowl champion quarterback, took a walk on the wild side, even for him. C'mon, man! It's the NFL, not the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Ironically, during Mr. Brady's postgame interview on Sunday night, there's are Gillette Fusion ProGlide logos in the background. (Cue up the ad campaign right about now.)

It's late in the day, guys. The excessive facial-hair thing is soooooooo '70s.

Shaving the neck area takes about five minutes tops, and your appearance is more orderly for subsequent interviews. Yes, it's a free country, I get that. But really, from a style standpoint, a selective lack of grooming draws a penalty flag in a hurry.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Style Points crosses over to McGuff turf

When I started Style Points in February 2008, I wanted to tell anyone who would listen how men can improve their look without breaking the bank.

The following month, I asked media blogger Mike McGuff, creator of MikeMcGuff.com and who currently is a reporter for KIAH-TV Ch. 39 in Houston, to stand in as a model for my post on how one garment can change your look.

Fast forward to November 2010, and Mr. McGuff asked me to return the favor. I was asked to list on his blog my top 10 style errors.

I'm sure there's a range of fashion not-to-dos out there, but my list is intended as a basis for dialogue. Let's hear it!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Well-fitting shoes are worth paying the price

Some of the most powerful forces that affect humankind are astonishingly the most simple.

If, in the words of William Congreve, "Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast"; and if food is the way to a man's heart, then where might footwear, "if the shoe fits," rank?

It's gotta be up there (the shoes, that is). Growing up, all I wore were sneakers. Converse, Pro-Keds, anything rubber-soled that enabled me to run all day. Problem is, sneakers wear out quickly.

Since entering the workforce in my teenage years, shoes became more of a priority. Shoes are obviously more appropriate than sneakers in professional work environments, and can be resoled. The comfort factor is most important, given that I am on my feet a lot at work.

Purchasing shoes that are visually appealing but do not fit correctly is a waste of money, even when they're on sale, and potentially painful to wear. Having done this more than once, I have only myself to blame.

That got me thinking ... what price would I be willing to pay for a comfortable pair of shoes?

The short answer is the amount that is at least as much as I value comfort ... but hopefully the price is negotiable.

I have worn shoes made in the U.S. (Alden, Allen-Edmonds, Cole-Haan, H.S. Trask), France (Paraboot), England (Gieves & Hawkes, Charles Tyrwhitt, Edward Green), and Italy (Fratelli-Rosetti and Damiano Chiappini). While each shoemaker has different designs and price points, the common denominator is they're all comfortable.

My latest acquisition is a pair of two-tone, handmade Stefano Branchini shoes, which retail for thousands of dollars. Branchini shoes have been worn by the likes of Sir Elton John and outgoing California Gov. Arnold Schwarznegger. Branchini shoes feature side stitching, leather-tipped laces, embossing on bottom of the sole, and metal eyelets. Here's a look at what I mean:

When I tried them on, the Branchinis fit like a glove and carry a bold look. Even on sale (which they were when I got them), the bottom-line price was hefty but within the acceptable range of what I was willing to pay. (No, I'm not telling.) They are a one-of-a-kind purchase; comfortable and elegant.

With proper maintenance, I'm sure to get plenty of mileage out of these shoes, though they're not meant to be worn every day. I certainly will not keep them in a box and allow them to catch dust, either. Branchinis are a great find when they're on sale. The Bologna-based shoemaker's attention to detail is admirable.