Iconic Gentlemen

It's Friday and I've got a nasty cold and a room full of tissues and
Sucrets. In any event, short and sweet today, kiddies, short and sweet.
Check out these classic stars of the screen (Grant, Flynn, Bogie, and
Newman) that most certainly fit the bill of all things gentleman. Don't you
just love them? Have a wonderful weekend- let's fete the gentleman this weekend and raise
our julep cups to him and all he stands for. And that's what's up this
sniffly Friday this last day of April in Miami. XO

Long live the Calling Card

Happiest of Thursdays, ladies and gents. Today on the quest for all things
gentleman, let's discuss the calling card, and let's bring it back.

Back in the day before Facebook and what have you, a gentleman would leave a
lady with a simple calling card- all you need is your name and phone number
and anything else you'd like to put that makes this card your very own paper
version of social networking. Obviously you want to go with a quality stock,
and I prefer a more vintage look- but you can personalize at will and make
this little card all you.

I can't think of a cooler way to let a lady know you are interested in her
company than handing her a card with your name and number on it. Not only
does this flip the script in terms of who calls who first (a relief beyond
belief), but it's also a way to show you have some values and manners and
above all, gentlemanly good taste. I've attached some examples of some nice
ones, but also putting a link below to an excellent article about calling
card etiquette and a fascinating history of said card.

I find it quite charming and yes, it's old fashioned, but in a really lovely
way. The calling card is different than the business card as its really just
about you as a person and less about your hedge fund or publishing career.
The calling card is polite and simple and I for one am calling for a return
to this very cool way to send a message that you would like to get to know
someone better. In terms of closing the deal, you're on your own for that.

Here's an excerpt from the article from The Art of Manliness site:

19th Century Calling Card Etiquette

The giving and receiving of calling cards developed a very elaborate set of
rituals and rules that every gentleman tried to master. While one¹s modern
sensibilities might find these rigid formalities laughable, I¹ve got to say
there¹s a certain appeal to it. Far more dignified than poking someone on
Facebook, wouldn¹t you say?. Just in case you step through a time warp and
land in the 19th century, here¹s your calling card etiquette survival guide.

On a first visit to a household, a gentleman gave one card to each lady of
the house.
A married man had a medium sized card, while an unmarried man had a smaller
card. Men¹s cards were always smaller than women¹s.
When calling upon the lady of the house, if she was not home, but her
daughter was, the gentleman sent in his card and departed, as it was not
usual for a young lady to receive calls from a gentleman unless they were
very intimate friends.
Special significance was given to the turning down of the card¹s corners:

A visit in person (as opposed to being sent by a servant): the right hand
upper corner
A congratulatory visit: the left hand upper corner
A condolence visit: the left hand lower corner
Taking leave (if you were going on a long trip): right hand lower corner
If there were two of more ladies in the household, the gentleman turned down
a corner of the card to indicate that the call was designed for the whole
family.
Initialing a calling card
Gentleman would also inscribe initials upon the card to denote the reason
for his visit. The initials stood for the following French words:

p. f. ­ congratulations (pour féliciter)
p. r. ­ expressing one¹s thanks (pour remercier)
p. c. ­ mourning expression (pour condoléance)
p. f. N. A. ­ Happy New Year (pour feliciter Nouvel An)
p. p. c. ­ meaning to take leave (pour prendre congé)
p. p. ­ if you want to be introduced to anybody, send your visiting card
(pour présenter)


The full article link is below...enjoy- and that's where the card falls this
cloud filled Thursday in Miami. XO

http://artofmanliness.com/2008/09/07/the-gentlemans-guide-to-the-calling-car
d/

Love the ponies. And their beverages too.

Hey, chickens. Happy Wednesday. So the Derby is upon us- and the Kentucky
Derby is a full on gentlemanly affair. (And for the ladies, no better
opportunity for a fancy hat and pretty dress so we all win I suppose). It is
steeped in a stable's worth of tradition, romance, and intrigue. And it's
one hell of a party besides.

Anyhoo, I've discussed how a true gentleman knows how to make the most
perfect bourbon and water. But maybe we should have him make us a mint julep
in honor of the Derby, and this my friends, is a true art. As I am a bit of
a stickler for authenticity, I went right the source, the official Kentucky
Derby website and found the real deal Holyfield recipe. This is it- note the
use of Early Times- it's an important step as is the silver cup (pictured):

Early Times Mint Julep

2 cups sugar
2 cups water
Sprigs of fresh mint
Crushed ice
Early Times Kentucky Whisky
Silver Julep Cups
Make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes.
Cool and place in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh
mint, then refrigerate overnight. Make one julep at a time by filling a
julep cup with crushed ice, adding one tablespoon mint syrup and two ounces
of Early Times Kentucky Whisky. Stir rapidly with a spoon to frost the
outside of the cup. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

I love how you start making this cocktail the night before, so plan
accordingly and maybe sleep in the night before, as tomorrow's juleps will
surely knock you on your derriere. And that's why I'm providing this today
so you can start preparing (you're welcome). And in case you were wondering
it's been said by some old Southern lieutenant type that the julep is "the
quintessence of gentlemanly beverages". (Said by one Lt. Gen. S.B. Buckner,
Jr., who most certainly opened the door for a lady or two in his time). As I
am dans l'amour with gentlemanly quintessence these days, I'll be toasting
you all this weekend with a few of these refreshing libations as the bugle
sounds the call to the post. And they're offfffff...

Oh and if you're a bit of a cocktail history savant, check out the Derby
site for all the facts on all things julep. Love the letter from the Lt.
General on how to make a proper julep. GENIUS.

http://www.kentuckyderby.info/mintjulep.php

And that's what's up this horsey and now thirsty Thursday in April. XO

A Gentleman's New Clothes

Tuesday, eh? Only four days 'till Derby. Can't wait to celebrate by drinking
sweet juleps with friends, sporting a printed dress and a hat, and playing
the ponies, albeit in South Florida. (PS- a true gentleman probably makes a
lovely mint julep. Or at least a perfect bourbon and water- just saying).

Back to the matter at hand. I suppose a proper dissection of all things
gentleman requires some chat about clothes. I'm not suggesting you put on a
seersucker suit and straw bowler and kiss the hands of every woman you see.
I'm just giving a stamp of approval to the Fall and Winter menswear joints
from J. Crew for 2010. I spotted these looks on the Continuous Lean, pretty
much the Valhalla of gentlemanliness in blog form. If you haven't checked
out this blog, do. It's one of the best in its point of view on all pursuits
iconic American male, focusing mostly on the past and its inspiration today.
( http://www.acontinuouslean.com/)

So check it- these looks are great, minus the rolled jean, which I'm just
not entirely sold on unless you're the type who can rock it (you know who
you are, or at least I hope you do). Besides that, this collection is spot
on for most guys- it's not overly trendy but still is fashionable, it's not
in the least fussy, and it's all classics you will own and wear again and
again. That's what a gentleman does. He may not wear these pieces head to
toe while perusing the racks at The Strand on a rainy Saturday, but he may
mix and match to his choosing to create the perfect unstudied look. I
realize we are skewing preppy here- but don't think about that. I myself
look horrid in preppy clothes but definitely throw in a classic in my own
arsenal and always feel good about it. These are good clothes for all age
groups of gentlemen- you can wear these clothes post college, or in that Gen
X moment when your ironic tee shirts are starting to feel a bit passe all of
the sudden. Again, don't look at these looks and say "too fashiony". They are styled to
be that way- maybe a jauntily tied scarf is not gonna do it for you, but
that's totally peachy. Look at them as clothes you can wear when you decide
to wake up early, run to the store, and make your girl some french press
coffee and homemade pancakes. (Needless to say, that is a clutch gentleman
move). Or maybe you're rocking these threads to a client meeting or
Thanksgiving dinner with the in laws. These clothes feel very post
metrosexual to me- they have a quiet confidence that is decidedly American
sportswear but also definitely gentleman chic. Bravo to J. Crew for giving
us nice pieces that allow you to still make rent or a mortgage payment, yet
still feel very much like in an investment since you will have these pieces
for years. I love the nod to tradition that laughs in the face of the Ed
Hardy and stripey button down set. In fact, these are smart clothes- they
show you may know a thing or two about a thing or two. So while you're
pondering clothing options that fully embrace gentlemanly values, look no
further than the Crew. And yes mix in your Dunks and your vintage tees with
all this stuff. A true gentleman is a man of conviction, but mostly because
he knows who he is, style or not. I'm not sure I completely agree with the
"clothes make the man" posit, but damn, these clothes are cute. And if
you're a cutie, And that's what's up this fashionable Tuesday in Avril. XO

ON GENTLEMEN

Hiya, Monday. It's like pea soup outside in Miami today. Thick and murky and
heavy like metal. Besides being annoyed by my curly bangs, I've been
thinking about the state of men these days- the metrosexual movement is part
of every day vernacular now- the striped button down, the eye cream, the
pride in appearance in general. That's all well and good but can't help
thinking we're ready for the next iteration of maleness. What would that be?

I am not going to pretend that putting men, or anyone for that matter, in
neat little categories is a wonderful thing. There will always be those that
live way out of bounds of what marketing peeps and society chooses to call
us and Lord bless that. I still want to talk about a new category that could
be media pervasive. But really this new male box I've created is self
serving. I have always had a thing for Southern guys. (I married one). I love the
accent, the laid back, non superficial, could protect me in a fight while
changing a tire type of dude. But what I love the most about Southern men is
the chivalry and manners. I am not mad at a man opening the door for me. Or
offering to carry something heavy for me when I am struggling. Or jumping
out of their seat on a flight to assist me with stowing my carry on. Or
saying "thank you" once in a while. Let's introduce a new male movement- a
return to chivalry and sweetness and syrupy charm to melt my cold
Northeastern heart. Enter the return of the gentleman.

Yea yea you can still have your lotions and potions and fancy jeans (though
I myself am a Levi's girl). But instead of so much attention on your pores,
let's think about what it means to be a gentleman- to have lovely table
manners, compliment a lady on her perfume or sundress, and just genuinely be
a mensch and exhibit some charm. I'm dedicating this week's posts to
gentlemanly pursuits, fashion, values, lifestyle, and icons of gentlemen
past and present (though I suspect mostly past).

I'm craving a return to some good male values- I'm all for the ladies and
our ability to kick ass at anything we want to do solo, but I still enjoy a
bit of the gallant from the boys and I for one am not too evolved or
empowered to have a man walk me to my car when it is late at night. Let's
celebrate the gentleman and talk about the noble pursuit of all things
related to such. If there are any boys reading this- do something
gentlemanly today- like open a door for a lady, dress up a bit, or try to
chew your food before speaking. And that's what's up this soupy Monday in
Miami. XO

There is Joanie and then there is Joan

Happy Friday, peeps.

I know I post a bunch of pics of Christina Hendricks aka Joanie of "Mad Men"
fame aka sex bomb. Her curves are indeed amazing and dangerous and give hope
to girls all over that have a little somethin' somethin' going on. But I'm
not at all one of those women that thinks curves are the only way to be
sexy. Which is why I'm posting pics of that other Joan, Joan Didion. Didion
is one of the coolest women to ever live- she's brilliant and moody and dark
and SKINNY (and impossibly chic without even trying). She was made that way
and she's beautiful in all her sparrow like splendor. She probably has never
had to count a carb or wear an elastic waist band, but we can't hate on her
for it. We just need to shoot for personal best in the bod department and
that's that.

My point is- it's all about having confidence in who you are and what you
look like, and a rapier wit doesn't hurt. Big or small, you gotta work with
what the big guy gave ya and embrace it cause it's great, whether you have a
wasp's waist or some serious back, women are sexy for more than their shape,
but for who they are and where they stand. And that's what's up this pretty
Friday morning in Miami. XO

FESTIVAL FASHION

Ah summer music festivals are upon us...Coachella was this past weekend and
the line up did not disappoint, but for me, the fashion of the attendees did
(I was not there but checked out many photos from the event, which looked
incredibly fun- the pool parties especially). Dressing for a music festival
can be super fun- let your freak flag fly, put on a floppy hat and some
great sunnies and you've got the foundation for a very cool look. It's
always hot hot hot during these things, so you have to go light light light
and if you've got the confidence, rock it out in a bikini top and not much
else. That said, I'm not on board with hipster chic- and I'm absolutely certain
that high waisted denim shorts (or high waisted shorts of any fabrication)
should be avoided for the most part unless you are built like a small
orphaned boy. They are just not flattering to most figures. And hipster
fashion in general looks frumpy and plain weird to me- bad cuts, awkward
lengths, and just not sexy for the most part. Don't get me started on the
hipster men. Just don't.

In any event, I am returning to the great granddaddies of American music
festivals -Woodstock and Monterey Pop. I skew slightly hippie in my fashion
taste, this is true- especially in warm weather. Can you believe how cool
these kids looked back in the day at Woodstock and Monterey? Full of hope
and possibility and impossibly rebel chic. Summer is the right time to
channel your inner hippie, so let's take some inspiration from the flower
children and nail this festival fashion thing, ok? Look no further than Kate
Bosworth at Coachella this year for some cues. LOVE HER. This girl gets it
right every time with her California girl cool and laid back sexy chic. And
she dates Eric the Vampire. (How much more fabulous can you get?)

I know some of you are thinking I am quite the fossil for even mentioning
the 1960s as a fashion moment, but can't we all just get along and embrace
that great music, sunshine, and youth never go out of style? Peace and love
peeps. Peace and love. And that's what's up this sunny Thursday. XO

 

PS It's Earth Day to boot  so go hug a tree in your batik finery.

Crimes of Fashion

So check it- yesterday I had jury duty here in Miami. Although waking up at
the crack of butt to get to court on time was a pain, I was tolerant of
serving in general, and always find it slightly intriguing as well as a
privilege to serve and do my part. (Toyed with being a lawyer at one point
in my early days, but decided to move to NY instead...)

Unfortunately for me, I brought a book with me to said duty I realized I had
already read (drat). So what's a girl to do with no reading materials and a
lot of time on her hands? Do an insane amount of people watching that's
what- if you are at all voyeuristic, jury duty is a good place to get your
fix. But if you're looking for glamour, look elsewhere kittens.

I say this because I noticed something fairly shocking- the male lawyers
strut around the courthouse looking rather natty and dapper- but the female
lawyers? Oy. Every last one of them looked like they had ransacked a Dress
Barn. It was painful. Some of them had good haircuts (I spotted a perfectly
Fekkai like blonde choppy bob that looked super out of place) but the
clothes were not to be believed. The suit fabrics looked itchy owey, the
cuts super unflattering and power 80s, and the color palette dowdy. Don't
even get me started on the shoes...Was McBeal like that? I can't remember
because that show always irritated me, but I digress...

All I'm saying is this is a stellar opportunity for retailers to make some
clothes for women that have to "suit up" for work. I myself have always been
fortunate to work in a casual environment where flip flops and jeans are the
norm. (Thank you Lord). I totally get that suiting can be very expensive,
but hey Zara, Uniqlo, or H&M- can you hook these ladies up with a little
less than spendy workplace love? Don't all the mags tell you how to dress
for work and look cool? There is no reason a 30 year old woman with a law
degree needs to dress like her Aunt Florence from Peoria. I know court is
not a fashion show- people's lives are on the line and it's serious business
for real. But does that mean you can't be fashionable? I'm not talking about
anything funky. I'm talking about a well cut suit or dress and jacket, with
a little bit of nice jewelry and some decent footwear. Is that too much to
ask?

My sister works in marketing in a major hospital and has always worn suits
to work. She claims it's a challenge as you certainly don't want to blow
your whole wardrobe budget on work clothes but there's not a lot of thrifty
options that are chic, so you have to suck it up. Then the weekend comes and
you have nothing to wear. Not cute.

Retailers, listen up. You've got a real opportunity here to makes some work
clothes for women that are not dowdy, do not look like Mel Griffin's
wardrobe in "Working Girl", or made of fabrics that gives us hives.
(Literally and figuratively).

I know workplace attire has changed tremendously, but surely there's a place
for women who still have to dress for the office but don't work for Conde
Nast? I get that women need to be taken seriously in the law or any other
"professional" ventures, but does that mean they have to sacrifice fashion
too? There oughta be a law against that. It's really a crime against
fashion. And that's what's up on this Wednesday. I myself am sitting here in
a vintage dress and flip flops and feeling most grateful I don't have to
dress up. XO

April Showers

Hiya. Happy Friday...I for one am grateful. Looking forward to a weekend of
catching up on some movies (still have not seen The Runaways...a crime) and
trying not to think about going to Jury Duty on Monday (ugh).

As it's April and stuff, you may be in the market for a cool umbrella. It's
worth showing you this super cheeky number from London Undercover, replete
with fish and chips on the interior and loaded with snarky tabloids on the
outside. The Brits know how to make a good umbrella natch. And with a bit of
wit to boot. Years ago while I nursed a broken heart in London, I bought a
fabulous and cheery tartan umbrella from a veddy proper brolly stockist,
which cheered me to no end, even in the throes of said brush off by an off
puttingly rakish Brit. I think that umbrella shielded me not only from the
rain, but also from my pain. And then I lost the damn thing in a cab...sigh.
(Story ends well- met my husband two weeks later. Don't despair...)

And if the April showers get you down, (although with this weird weather
we're having it's probably not raining much) check out the beautiful and
iconic musical the "Umbrellas of Cherbourg" starring the infamously
gorgeous and stylish Catherine Deneuve. It will make you want to go forth
and get a cute rain trench, some flats, and of course, a lovely umbrella. If
you look half as glam as Deneuve, you're in good shape. Much love to you
all...rain or shine, the weekend is upon us, and that's what's up this
Friday mid morning in April. XO


Here's the link to the umbrella should you feel the need...they have other
great ones too.

http://www.londonundercover.co.uk/shop/slim_walker/fish__chips/