Waistcoat by Vintage (thrift), Shirt by Stafford, Tie by Vintage (thrift), Jeans by H&M, Shoes courtesy of Trask, Watch courtesy of Talley & Twine
I tend to wear earth tones all year-round, similar to how I wear white denim. This waistcoat was one of my favorite vintage finds from last year, and I honestly could not wait for the right time to bring this piece out again.
The blend of browns, green and orange just scream autumn. In fact, it is probably my most versatile waistcoat. When the weather gets colder I could wear it with a blazer or I could dress it down with a henley and a denim jacket.
Special thanks to Trask for sending me these suede hunter green loafers. I decided to go sockless and was still amazed by how comfortable they fit. The leather smelled rich and expensive when I took them out of the box, and I was especially impressed with the overall construction. Like I previously mentioned, I wear earth tones all year round but even more often during the fall and winter months, so these came in at the perfect time. I can’t wait to pair these with some of my new leather jackets and sweaters.
Hat by Bailey of Hollywood (thrift), Waistcoat by Vintage (thrift), Shirt By Christian Dior (thrift), Tie by Vintage (thrift), Trousers by Hart Schaffer & Marx (thrift), Shoes by Cole Haan (thrift), Watch by Talley & Twine
If you are a long time reader of this blog, you know I have always appreciated a quality waistcoat. Some of my favorites are seen here, here, here, and here. Ironically, I purchased all of them from various thrift stores, and this one is no different. However, this one in particular was custom made and it features all of the bells and whistles such as mother of pearl buttons and additional pockets.
The first time I wore this waistcoat seen here, I wore under a corduroy sports coat. In fact, using a waistcoat as a layering piece is one of my favorite fall options. However, the weather was very nice today so I decided to wear it as a separate.
In other news, I am still sharpening my tailoring skills and I recently tapered these trousers. It is not much of a difference from the last time I wore it seen here, but I like the way this fits a little more. So stay tuned for a DIY tutorial on how to taper pants.
Suit by Vintage (Thrift), Shirt by Stafford, Tie by Vintage (thrift), Shoes by Zara
I usually visit local thrift stores on my lunch break, but yesterday I decided to check out the Upton Hall Art Gallery at Buffalo State College. I was enamored by most of the paintings and sculptures that our art students created. It helped me realize how sophisticated our relatively small art program is. In fact, if I could rewind time I would have studied fine arts instead of criminal justice.
I spent about an hour just appreciating their work, and it even inspired me to start painting again. While I was a Graduate Assistant, my supervisor and I painted (sometimes huge murals) during stressful times. It quickly caught on with the rest of the staff, and we all realized that painting alleviated stress in the workplace.
Below are just a few of my favorite pieces. I am actually going to inquire about purchasing a couple of them because I am still decorating my new apartment (more on that later).
Suit by Zara, Shirt by Tailor4Less, Tie by Vintage (Thrift), Shoes by Cole Haan (thrift)
Even though the fall is my favorite season, I still found myself being unprepared for the sudden change in weather. It is much cooler than I expected and this grey wool suit would have been a much better option, but I am still happy that fall is finally here.
These cap toe brogues by Cole Haan are my work horse dress shoes and I think they just continue to get better with age (minus that scar).
Suit by Suit Supply, Shirt by Stafford, Tie by John Ashford, Shoes by Florsheim (thrift)
It’s no surprise that brown, blue, and green are some of favorite colors to wear all year-round, but I enjoy incorporating some black every now and then as well. I just rarely ever do it, especially when it comes to black shoes. When I first started building my wardrobe, I constantly read that a quality pair of black shoes are essential for every man’s wardrobe. However, at the time I found myself wearing brown or burgundy shoes with just about every outfit. Nowadays, I find myself reaching for a pair of black shoes more often.
This black tie was the very first tie I ever purchased. I spent about $30 for it and at the time I thought it was a great deal. Today, I usually spend $1-$3 for all of my ties, even for the “luxury” brands.
These black cap toe oxfords are also a thrift store find. They were about $10, and it only makes me laugh to think that I spent more on my tie than I did for my shoes. You live and you learn!
Suit by Stafford, Shirt by Stafford, Tie by Jos. A. Banks (thrift), Shoes by Andres Marseilles (thrift), Briefcase by Vintage (thrift)
Nothing screams “ready for business” more than a chalk stripe suit. For some reason, I always associate chalk stripes with bankers and boardroom execs. In fact, every time I wear this suit, I feel like I should be hosting a meeting with the President of a Fortune 500 company.
It has been quite a while since the last time I wore this suit, seen here, because I hated the way the trousers draped over my shoes. Fortunately, I managed to taper the legs and add a 1 1/2 in. cuff. I also slimmed the body of the waistcoat so that it could create a more flattering silhouette.
Also, when wearing a power suit like this one, you should pair it with a no-nonsense briefcase to hold all of your important documents and or laptop.
In Chapter 1, I talked about finally making the conscious decision to learn how to alter my own clothing. And if you follow my instagram acount, you’ve noticed that I started posting some of my finished projects. A few weeks ago, I started with dress shirts and simply slimmed the sleeves and the body. Then I moved onto tapering trousers and adding a cuff. Fortunately, my mother was a seamstress in Trinidad, so she gives me pointers and helps me avoid making silly mistakes. So with her help and the occasional youtube video, I am getting better with each alteration I perform. I will eventually post tutorial videos on the blog but for now I am still perfecting my craft. Similar to when I taught myself how to play the guitar over the summer, I continue to come to the realization that consistency is key!
Wearing white pants after labor day was once considered a fashion don’t. However, today it is common to see people wearing white, all year-round. In fact, after browsing through my archives, I realized that I wear the same white denim jeans all year round. Mainly because I really love the way they fit, especially after getting them tapered and shortened.
There are so many rules in fashion that it is almost impossible to avoid breaking several of them on any given day. However, I think it is pretty safe to say that wearing white after labor day is no longer considered a fashion don’t; at least for me anyway.
I recently got the opportunity to interview with Jonathan Ly of StoryLeather.com. Story Leather makes custom made to order leather cell phone cases, wallets, and totes. All of their products are handmade and constructed with genuine leather. On the story leather blog they have style stories where they interview bloggers, and I was fortunate enough to be this week’s feature. So please check out my interview below and be sure to shop Story Leather for all of your custom leather needs.
Story Leather: On your blog you had mentioned that you had made the conscious decision to dress for the role that you were aspiring for, “How did you know what to wear?”
Akil: I learned what to wear by modeling my wardrobe after the respected veterans in my field. In higher education professors, deans, and presidents tend to dress relatively conservative and business oriented. Analyzing what key players in my professional industry wore provided me with a realistic vision of what my wardrobe should consist of. However, because I started my career at a young age I decided to construct my wardrobe based around classic menswear pieces, but with a modern fit. By doing so, I gained the respect from my peers and supervisors, all while gaining the respect and trust from my advisees.
Story Leather: You’ve also mentioned that thrift stores we’re your best option, “With thrift stores being so random in their selection how did you go about finding what works?”
Akil: Thrift stores are extremely random in their selection, especially the ones that I regularly visit. However, the keys to success for shopping at a thrift store lie in having the patience to sift through cluttered clothing racks, as well as having the knowledge to decipher quality brands and fabrics. Although most items found in thrift stores are vintage and outdated, menswear has remained relatively the same over the years. Therefore, visiting a tailor and making minor alterations can help eliminate the fear of wearing something that clearly looks like you found it in a thrift store.
Story Leather: When did you make the decision to become the Dapper Advisor? Was it influenced during your time as a student or afterward?
Akil: I decided to become the Dapper Advisor while I was a student in graduate school. During that time, I became very interested in style and dressing well for my career. So I started the platform as a way to monitor my style evolution. It eventually became a platform to share my style and menswear knowledge with others as well. As I was finding my own personal style, I found that many of my peers wanted to improve their style, but did not know where to begin.
Story Leather: As the Dapper Adviser, what are a few simple rules that every young professional can follow when trying to dress the part?
Akil: When I first started doing my research on style and menswear in particular, I tried to follow all of the “menswear rules” that I found on the Internet. However, as I began to learn more and created my own style, I found myself breaking a lot of those said rules. Now, the only rules that I “abide” by is never leaving home without a watch (even though I rarely check it for the time), keeping my shoes clean and polished, and staying well groomed. I have learned that a nice outfit can be ruined if it is not accompanied with a fresh haircut.
Story Leather: Lastly, “How do you adapt your own style to the ever evolving fashion world?”
Akil: Although the fashion world is ever evolving, it does not have much of an effect on my style. I do not view myself as a trendy individual. I appreciate diverse styles but I believe in keeping things simple and only wearing clothes that look good on me and flatter my body. I think a key component in finding an authentic personal style is staying true to the things that you enjoy wearing, not “adapting” to emerging fashion trends. Not everything is a style fit for me and I’m okay with that.
Story Leather: Did you have any final thought’s you’d like to mention to any young professionals out there?
Akil: Being a young professional can be tough, especially if you start your career at a young age like I did. Therefore, it is important to remain confident in your abilities as a professional. I enjoy wearing a good suit and tie to work, because I am able to leave lasting impressions with a lot of people. However, I believe that there is no substitute for hard work. In other words, a nice suit and a smile will definitely open doors for a young professional, but having a relentless work ethic as well as being knowledgeable in your field are the things that will really help you gain the respect and admiration of others.
Blazer by Uniqlo, Shirt by Tailor4less, Tie by Brooks Brothers (thrift), Pants by Levis, Shoes by Church’s (thrift)
When I was an undergraduate student at Buffalo State, I rarely ever saw any faculty/staff outside of the classroom or outside of their office, almost as if they were not allowed to socialize with students. So I decided that once I started my career, I would make sure that I remain accessible to students. For me that means eating lunch on campus and just simply passing through the student union or library. I realized that by remaining accessible, I am able to build stronger relationships with my students and as a result it makes my job as an advisor so much easier.
Blazer by Uniqlo, Shirt by Stafford, Trousers by Vintage (thrift), Shoes by Zara
I have a story to share that is completely unrelated to menswear, but it’ll explain the mood in my photos. So, yesterday afternoon, I received a warning notice on my car stating that it was time for me to renew my campus-parking permit. A trip to the parking services office brought some news: I was informed that I had 3 unpaid parking tickets on my account, and I would not be able to get a new parking permit until those tickets were paid in full (with additional late fees). The tickets were issued back in November and I knew that I already paid them in full, as time passed I felt the headache coming up. The next step was finding proof of payment and checking my account statements. Low and behold, they were no-where to be found which meant I had to pay for them in cash. However, according to a staff member in the student accounts office, cash payments are deemed “untraceable” unless you keep your receipt.
So I did the next best thing: called parking services office and have them search the system for trace of payment. During this entire 2-hour ordeal I started to get very frustrated and even doubted myself as to whether or not I actually paid for the tickets. But I chose to remain positive and patiently waited for the student assistant to check the system. After about 20 minutes of scanning, she found my payments and I was able to receive a new parking permit.
On the surface this might all seem like a ridiculously long and drawn out story about my war with parking services, but I actually learned some important lessons from this situation. One: Hold on to important receipts, especially for transactions paid in cash. Two: it is extremely important to remain calm under pressure. Truth be told, if I had lost my cool with the student assistant, I might have been forced to pay for those tickets again and run the risk of getting more tickets for parking on campus with an expired parking permit. And last but not least, treating people with respect and courtesy can definitely open doors for you. It just goes to show that it is one thing to dress like a gentleman, but even more important to actually be one.
Suit by Hickey Freeman, Shirt by Stafford, Tie by Vintage (thrift), Shoes by John Lobb
The day after Labor Day is the commonly referred to as the unofficial last day of summer, so I wanted to get some wears out of this suit before the weather began to change significantly. However, I am actually excited for the fall because it is my favorite season. I have never been a fan of hot weather, unnecessary sweating, beaches, or anything thing else that is closely related to the summer.
I am still keeping things simple so I paired this suit with a solid kelly green tie. It is always funny to me when I look back at some of my older photo’s, seen here. I used to experiment with color blocking and different patterns, but nowadays solids and stripes are all I really need.
Suit by House of Darby, Shirt by Stafford, Tie by Brooks Brothers (thrift), Shoes by John Lobb
School is back in session and I must admit that I am pretty excited to connect with my students again. During the summer months, campus is extremely quiet and very laid back, so it is very refreshing to see the campus lively and busy again. So I decided to wear a suit and tie in order to start the new academic year off right.
This summer was a very productive one (even though my blogging activity suffered as a result). I managed to pick up a couple new hobbies such as teaching myself how to play the guitar and learning how to sew, seen here. So as a result, now I will be able to perform some minor alterations and hopefully save some money along the way.
I am extremely fortunate to work with several different photographers. In fact, most of them are not even actual “photographers”. Just some good friends with a great eye for detail. However, sometimes I get the honor of working with professional photographers that just have a knack for capturing some great shots, and this photo shoot in particular is one of my favorites, and not just because I am wearing this salmon colored blazer.
After work, my friend Kourtney Leanne took some photos of me visiting some restaurants and bars around the city and captured some great candid shots that I usually wouldn’t think of featuring on the blog. Kourtney definitely has the “photograher’s eye” and is a pleasure to work with. So check out more of her work here and feel free to contact her if you’re in the market for a young professional photographer.