Tag Archives: reviews

Review: Structure Faux Leather Trimmed Vest with Casual Button-Down

When looking for those perfect accent pieces to add to a pair of trousers, a great fitting button-down dress shirt is the place to start. The three things that make a good dress shirt are fit, fabric, and fashion. You want a fit that is close to the body, in order to give you a shape, but still leaving you some room to move. The shirts at Structure generally reflect these values.

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One such shirt is the Men’s Slim Fit Dress Shirt with Sateen Stripe by Structure. It is a garment that is cut closer to the body with a slimmer silhouette, which is constructed of a cotton-rich broad cloth that is easy care with 55% cotton/45% polyester. It not only comes in black, but a fabulous array of blues, plums, browns, and white. The fabric has a tonal sateen stripe that gives this dress shirt a little more interest up close, yet it still acts as a solid. This type of dress shirt gives you a little more choice in complimentary ties because you can go with a micro-pattern or bolder with a larger paisley design, since the tonal striping keep it like a solid color. For $21.99 at www.sears.com, it is a great value in a dress shirt.

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Another accent piece that could compliment both the Structure slim fit dress shirt and a pair of a casual trousers is the Structure Men’s 5-Button Vest with Faux Leather Trim. It has your basics with the v-neckline, notched hem, and woven cotton/poly grey fabric, but it has some added features of trendy faux leather trim on the four slit pockets, a satin back for ease of movement, and the easy care of machine washing.

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The downside of the item is that if it is worn under a sports jacket, then you probably will not notice its unique features, but for $20.00 at Sears, it will pay for itself after one wearing.

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Acre Maroon Button-down Shirt by Gravalot

The Gravalot brand was founded in the heart of London, giving its creators a way to express their beliefs in the human experience through fashion. The company prides itself in being artisans who create a legacy of “strength, quality, and beauty” within their men’s line of dress shirts.

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One item in particular, the Acre Maroon button-down dress shirt, is a part of the Late Harvest Collection from Gravalot, a line that is said to “explore” the causes of a particularly riotous moment in recent British History. This shirt has a deep chocolate, plum tinged hue that embodies the word rich more than ‘rebellion’ – but I can see how it certainly isn’t a run-of-the-mill piece that takes some courage to wear. It is constructed of woven, breathable cotton and has the look of very clean lines with its tonal stitching. ‘Strength’ also comes to mind.

The dress shirt walks the fence between a formal button-down with the details of an angled collar and hidden button placket, but also has the qualities of a casual dress shirt that can be worn with a pair of jeans and a sweater. The buttons in particular, despite being usually behind the placket, are of a genuine quality that is always appreciated.

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And at 65 pounds sterling, it is a fantastic price for a “made to order” dress shirt and of a style that you will not find tons of in department stores and boutiques. Also, if the saturated maroon color is not for you, at they have a pure white and a micro-print Acre Square in black and white too.

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Review: The Vader Mission Belt

For reviews.

As far as accessories go, the belt is one that you would probably find in every man’s closet. It may be something that is not worn every day, but at some time you will need that finished look that can only be accomplished with the right belt.

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You may think that all belts are the same, but there is one that has features that set it apart from the rest. The innovative design of the Mission Belt, developed by Nate Holzapfel in Provo, Utah, is set to take the belt world by storm.  The revolutionary quality of these belts is that it has no holes, which avoids the cracked leather and stretched holes from normal wear and tear of other belts.

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Despite not having fastening holes, the Mission Belt is totally adjustable with a customized fit of ¼ inch increments – it will fit you before and after Thanksgiving dinner. The belt’s closure system is based on ratchet action and it has a release for quick removal that gives the piece a cool mechanical feel. The Mission Belt also offers a selection of interchangeable belt buckles, so you can change the look without getting another belt.

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The particular piece I got to try out is the Mission Belt Vader. It is a classic-looking black belt with a sleek metallic buckle rocking a delicious black acrylic finish. The leather is 1.25 inch wide and has a synthetic coating for the buckle to slide over without fail. It is a totally customizable fit and comes in S-XL. The Vader is fantastically priced at $34.95 and you can feel good that the company is dedicated to fighting poverty and hunger around the world.

I highly recommend the Vader for the man pursuing some innovation in his accessorizing efforts!

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Key Accessories Can Be Chic!

When thinking about accessories, key chains don’t normally come to mind, but they are an important part of everyday life.  We use keys for just about everything and as time goes by, we seem to accumulate more keys each year.

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One innovative way to keep your keys organized is with the KeySmart.  It is a patent pending design that seems to be using a similar design to the jack knife/ multi-tool, but specifically for keys.  The keys are attached to either end of the holder and have the ability to flip out and back, keeping the holder’s slim shape that would easily slide into any pocket or purse.  Specifically, the KeySmart 2.0 model comes in the bright color selections of blue, orange, green, and purple, but also in neutrals like black, slate, and titanium.

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The KeySmart is crafted of aircraft aluminum and stainless for durability with the ability to expand for more than four keys.  And at a mere $19.98, it is organization plus economy! I suspect I’ll be using my blue one for a while to come.

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The next key accessory is by J.W. Hulme and is constructed of 100% rich brown leather with brass hardware.  It has a “dog leash” style finding on one end and the key ring on the other.  The ingenious part is the loop that it forms, which allows it to be snapped onto a larger object that may be too big for the other closure.  For $38 at East Dane, it would be a great gift for those looking for a bit of luxury.

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Lastly, the Lobster Claw Key Fob by Jack Spade is a simple but effective design.  Available in a nickel or brass finish, both key chains have a substantial lobster claw clasp that is opposite the key ring, which can easily hook onto pant-loops or a backpack. I chose this style for my teenager after they “misplaced” the only set of keys to the car and I had to have it towed home. This fob is better for heavy-duty key grouping while the KeySmart definitely reigns for streetwear use.

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Fashion Review – Ray-Ban Erika Sunglasses

The Ray-Ban Eyewear and Sunglass Company was founded in 1937 and has their headquarters in one of the fashion centers of the world: Milan, Italy. The Ray-Ban sunglasses have been celebrity favorites from Bob Marley in the 1950’s to Tom Cruise in the 1990’s and still remain a top eyewear company.

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With the polarization of their lenses, Ray-Ban sunglasses have become a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts like bikers, joggers, golfers, and drivers. They are especially popular with the water-loving population for their ability to reflect the light and block the glare.

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Men’s Fashion Review – H&B London British Racing Green Billfold Wallet

When you are out shopping for men’s wallets, there are the basic styles of bi-fold and tri-fold. Essentially, it is just a matter of preference. The bi-fold is a little wider in shape, but the tri-fold is a little thicker to carry. Also, there aren’t usually a huge selection of leathers except for black and brown. One exception to the rule, thankfully, is the British Racing Green Billfold Wallet by H&B London.

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Its rich green color, which happens to be close to the Pantone Color of the Year for 2013, is something that will blend well with the deep browns and tans of the Fall/Winter season. It is made of Buffalo calfskin, which is a heavier leather and much more durable than other, more widely used leathers. It has a substantial amount of card storage what with cozy eight slots and the interior is lined with a navy silk, making it even more of a luxury accessory.

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Men’s Fashion Review – Ted Baker Mindblo Corduroy Shirt

Time again for a review of fine men’s clothing! This time, I had the pleasure of reviewing the Ted Baker Mindblo Corduroy Shirt. How does it fare?

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